Biographies & Memoirs


It is well known that Ash Upson did most of the writing for Pat Garrett’s The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid, The Noted Desperado of the Southwest, Whose Deeds of Daring and Blood Made His Name a Terror in New Mexico, Arizona and Northern Mexico. The two must have worked closely together on the manuscript, however, for Upson lived in the Garrett household during the time the book was being written. Unfortunately, the original manuscript has not survived, so it is impossible to say definitively what is purely Upson and what is Garrett, although most scholars tend to agree that the first fifteen chapters, which at times employ a dreadfully melodramatic style typical of the time, are primarily Upson, while the remaining chapters, which are written as a matter-of-fact, first-person narrative, more strongly reflect Garrett’s contribution. To avoid clutter and confusion in my narrative and notes, I consistently refer to Garrett as the author of The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid.


Garrett’s arrival in Las Vegas with his prisoners and subsequent events were well reported by two Las Vegas newspapers, the Daily Optic and the Gazette. The Las Vegas newspaper accounts I have relied upon here and elsewhere in this book are found in Billy the Kid: Las Vegas Newspaper Accounts of His Career, 1880–1881 (Waco, Tex.: W. M. Morrison Books, 1958).

Billy’s greeting to Dr. Sutfin in front of the Grand View Hotel was recounted by Albert E. Hyde in his “The Old Regime in the Southwest,” Century Magazine 63 (Mar. 1902). Hyde was indeed in Las Vegas at this time, but his version of events is highly romanticized and should be used with caution.

Garrett’s account of the Las Vegas standoff is included in his The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid (Santa Fe: New Mexican Printing and Publishing Co., 1882), 114–116.

Benjamin Miller’s little-known version of the events at the Las Vegas depot is found in his rare Ranch Life in Southern Kansas and the Indian Territory (New York: Fless & Ridge Printing Company, 1896).

Train engineer Dan Daley was interviewed by a newspaper reporter in California in 1927, at which time he provided his memories of the Las Vegas standoff. Daley’s fleeting brush with Billy the Kid, and this particular interview, have been missed by other historians and writers. See “When the Paths of Dan Daley and Billy the Kid Crossed,” The Decatur Review, Decatur, Illinois, Jan. 23, 1927. Daley and his wife are enumerated in the 1880 U.S. Census, living in East Las Vegas. Daley’s occupation is listed as “Engineer on R. Road.”

Billy’s words to Garrett after the lawman informed his prisoners he would arm them if the mob attacked are exactly as they were remembered by Garrett in his The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid, 116.

Miguel Otero’s role in the standoff is much embellished by his son, Miguel Antonio Otero, in the latter’s book My Life on the Frontier, 1864–1882 (1935; reprint ed., Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1987), 213.

J. Fred Morley’s reminiscences were provided in two letters to James East dated Nov. 29, 1922, and June 29, 1924, transcriptions of which are in the Leon C. Metz Papers (MS 157), Box 16, C. L. Sonnichsen Special Collections Department, University of Texas at El Paso Library. James East gave his account of the Las Vegas standoff in an interview with J. Evetts Haley, Douglas, Arizona, Sept. 27, 1927, J. Evetts Haley Collection, Haley Memorial Library and History Center, Midland, Texas. The Morley and Garrett quotes are from East.

An article in the Chicago Daily Tribune of Dec. 29, 1880, but dated Las Vegas, Dec. 28, stated that a compromise was reached whereby Sheriff Romero and two men were allowed to travel with Garrett’s party to Santa Fe to seek the governor’s permission to return Rudabaugh to Las Vegas. Albert E. Hyde, in his 1902 article, wrote of a similar compromise, supposedly suggested by Garrett himself. No such compromise is mentioned by James East, J. F. Morley, Miguel Antonio Otero, or Garrett, and in fact, the Las Vegas Gazette of Dec. 27 chastised Sheriff Romero for not attempting just such an arrangement.

The pie episode is from Morley’s letter to East of Nov. 29, 1922.

Billy’s quoting the proverb “Those who live by the sword…” is from a letter of James H. East to Charlie Siringo, Douglas, Arizona, May 1, 1920, as quoted in Charles A. Siringo, History of “Billy the Kid” (Santa Fe: Charles A. Siringo, 1920), 105.

The now-iconic image of the Kid appeared in the Jan. 8, 1881, issue of The Illustrated Police News, which stated that it received the original from Las Vegas chief of police E. Roberts, who obtained it from Lincoln County. The engraving was printed again in the Illustrated Police News of Mar. 5, 1881. Chief of Police Roberts may have been Eugene Roberts, who is listed in the 1880 U.S. Census as a thirty-eight-year-old saloon keeper living in East Las Vegas. See Robert G. McCubbin, “The Many Faces of Billy the Kid,” True West 54 (May 2007): 60–63.

Miguel Antonio Otero fondly recalled his visits to Billy in the Santa Fe jail in his books, My Life on the Frontier, 214, and The Real Billy the Kid, With New Light on the Lincoln County War (New York: Rufus Rockwell Wilson, Inc., 1936), 179.

The postal inspector was named Carson, and his letter of Jan. 11, 1881, is transcribed in James W. White, The History of Lincoln County Post Offices (Farmington, N.Mex.: James W. White, 2007), 83–84.

Billy’s letters to Governor Wallace have been published many times. Scanned images of this correspondence, with the exception of Billy’s letters of Mar. 13, 1879, and Mar. 2, 1881, are available on the Indiana Historical Society’s website ( as part of a digital image collection titled “Lew Wallace in New Mexico.”

For Billy’s bay mare, see the Las Vegas Gazette, Jan. 4, 1881, and the Las Vegas Daily Optic, Mar. 12, 1881. The pistol W. Scott Moore presented to Frank Stewart, a Colt Frontier Six-Shooter in caliber .44–40, serial number 56304, was auctioned off by Rock Island Auction Company in December 2006, for a hammer price of $92,000.

Billy’s escape attempt was reported in the Santa Fe Daily New Mexican of Mar. 1881.

Governor Wallace’s recollection of Billy’s blackmail scheme is in the Fort Wayne Morning Journal-Gazette, July 13, 1902.

Incidents of Billy’s trip to Mesilla were reported in the Santa Fe Daily New Mexican of Apr. 2, 3, and 7, 1881. The Kid’s low opinion of the Mesilla jail was reported in Newman’s Semi-Weekly of Apr. 20, 1881.

In 1876, 250 citizens of Grant County petitioned to have Judge Warren Bristol removed for various legal improprieties. Judge Bristol’s record for murder convictions was praised in a long article in the Rio Grande Republican of Apr. 29, 1882. Two months later, however, the same newspaper condemned the judge for grossly undervaluing his real and personal property on his tax assessment. On the day of Bristol’s funeral, Jan. 17, 1890, the business houses of Deming, New Mexico, Bristol’s place of residence, were closed “as a mark of respect for the Judge’s memory.” See New Mexico Biographical Notes, Robert N. Mullin Collection, Haley Memorial Library and History Center, Midland, Texas; Rio Grande Republican, June 10, 1882; and The Deming Headlight, Jan. 18, 1890.

Editor Simeon Newman’s rant against a delay in the Kid’s legal proceedings is from the Apr. 2, 1881, issue of Newman’s Semi-Weekly.

For Billy’s plea of no jurisdiction in the Roberts case, see Newman’s Semi-Weekly, Apr. 6, 1881.

My description of Simeon Newcomb is from Patrick H. Beckett, ed., Las Cruces, New Mexico, 1881: As Seen by Her Newspapers (Las Cruces: COAS Publishing and Research, 2003), 65–66. For Albert J. Fountain, see Gordon R. Owen, The Two Alberts: Fountain and Fall(Las Cruces: Yucca Tree Press, 1996); and A. M. Gibson, The Life and Death of Colonel Albert Jennings Fountain (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1965). Fountain’s mob law comments are quoted in Owen, 193.

Billy’s wish for a pistol in his jail cell was reported in Newman’s Semi-Weekly of Apr. 9, 1881.

Court Clerk George R. Bowman’s recollections of the trial are in Helen Irwin, “When Billy the Kid Was Brought to Trial,” Frontier Times 6 (Mar. 1929): 214. Bowman’s account, like many primary sources touching on the Kid and Garrett, must be used with caution. I suspect that Bowman’s quotes were embellished rather liberally by Irwin, who first published Bowman’s recollections in the Fort Worth Star Telegram of Dec. 2, 1928.

The defense’s proposed jury instructions and Judge Bristol’s charge to the jury are illustrated and transcribed in Randy Russell, Billy the Kid: The Story—The Trial (Lincoln, N.Mex.: The Crystal Press, 1994). The three witnesses for the Territory were Isaac Ellis, Bonifacio Baca, and Jacob B. “Billy” Mathews. Surprisingly, Simeon Newman did not report on the substance of the Kid’s trial in the pages of his Semi-Weekly, even though he was inclined to devote much space to Kid news items. It is possible that the Mesilla News, a weekly, reported details of the trial, but that week’s issue has not survived.

According to Lew Wallace, Billy responded to Bristol’s sentence with the following: “Judge, that doesn’t frighten me a bit. Billy the Kid was not born to be hung.” Wallace’s account was first published in a 1902 newspaper article, and how Wallace obtained this information is unclear, for he was nowhere near the trial. Billy’s words, however, mirror similar comments and sentiments he is known to have made. See “Gen. Lew Wallace’s New Outlaw Hero,” Fort Wayne Morning Journal-Gazette, July July 13, 1902.

Billy’s letter to Caypless is as quoted in William A. Keleher, Violence in Lincoln County, 1869–1881 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1957), 320–321.

Editor Newman’s interviews with the Kid were never published. His newspaper ceased publication in Las Cruces with the Apr. 20, 1881, issue.

Billy’s views on Governor Wallace and the promised pardon are from the Mesilla News of Apr. 16, 1881. Governor Wallace’s dismissive comments on the Kid’s plight are from the Las Vegas Gazette, Apr. 28, 1881.

My description of Billy and his guards as they departed Las Cruces is from Newman’s Semi-Weekly, Apr. 20, 1881, and Robert Olinger’s statement of expenses for transportation of William Bonney, Apr. 21, 1881, Lincoln County Clerk’s Office, Carrizozo, New Mexico.

The description of Billy’s stop at Blazer’s Mill with his guards is from Paul Blazer to Eve Ball, Nov. 20, 1963, interview typescript, Box 4, Folder 1, Eve Ball Papers (MSS 3096), L. Tom Perry Special Collections Library, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; and Almer Blazer, “The Fight at Blazer’s Mill, in New Mexico,” Frontier Times 16 (Aug. 1939): 465.

Mrs. Lesnett’s visit with Billy is from Mrs. Annie E. Lesnett to Edith Crawford, Sept. 30, 1937, interview typescript, American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers Project, 1936–1940, Library of Congress American Memory website.


For Garrett’s new hero status, see the Daily New Mexican, Dec. 28, 1880. The gift of $100 in gold was reported in the New Mexican of Dec. 30, 1880.

The will of Patrick F. Jarvis, dated Dec. 13, 1852, is found in Probate File No. 904, Cobb Memorial Archives, Valley, Alabama. Jarvis, who died in December 1852, willed his wife, Margaret Jarvis, two slaves named Fanny and George. However, the will specified that at the death of Margaret Jarvis, the slave George was to go to his grandson Pat Garrett, and the slave Fanny was to go to his granddaughter Margaret Garrett. As Margaret Jarvis is believed to have died a few months after Patrick, her grandson, Pat Garrett, became a slave owner at the age of two. Jarvis also willed his daughter Elizabeth (Pat Garrett’s mother) two slaves named Big Ben and Little Ben. On Pat Garrett’s paternal side, his great-grandfather, Miles Garrett, was a veteran of the Revolutionary War.

For John L. Garrett’s Alabama slave ownership, see the slave schedules for the 1850 U.S. Census, 19th District, Chambers County, Alabama.

Garrett’s recollection of how he earned his first dollar is from the El Paso Herald, Aug. 24, 1905.

The Garretts, overseer John Yates Coleman, and the Garrett slaves are in the 1860 U.S. Census, 7th Ward, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana.

For John Coleman’s enlistment in the Twenty-seventh Louisiana, see the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System at

The disposition of the Garrett estate is recounted in Leon Metz, Pat Garrett: The Story of a Western Lawman (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1974), 8–9. Metz states that John and Elizabeth Garrett’s children refused to live in the household of Larkin Lay and their sister Margaret. However, the 1870 U.S. Census for the 7th Ward, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, shows all the Garrett siblings but Pat and Elizabeth Ann (who was likely married by this time) residing with the Larkins.

Emerson Hough, a friend of Garrett’s, provides the date for Garrett’s departure from Louisiana in The Story of the Outlaw: A Study of the Western Desperado (New York: The Outing Publishing Company, 1907), 293.

Garrett came to the Dallas area with John Lowry. See the short sketch of Garrett’s career published in the Daily Review, Decatur, Illinois, Dec. 14, 1901.

The Garrett quote about being homesick is from the El Paso Herald, Aug. 24, 1905.

Garrett’s encounter with the Uvalde County cattleman and subsequent employment as a cowboy is according to W. Skelton Glenn, “Pat Garrett as I Knew Him on the Buffalo Ranges,” typescript, Box 16, Leon C. Metz Papers. The Glenn manuscript is a significant source for information on Garrett, particularly his time as a buffalo hunter. However, Glenn developed a strong animosity toward his former partner; thus, his manuscript should be used with caution. Also, it is apparent that Glenn plagiarized a small portion of Emerson Hough’s The Story of the Outlaw.

For the killing of Joe Briscoe, I have relied heavily on the Glenn manuscript. I have made one change to the Garrett quotation that precipitates his fight with Briscoe. In the manuscript, Glenn has Garrett saying, “No one but a damn Irishman would have more sense than to try to wash anything in that water.” This is, of course, not the slight that Garrett obviously intended, and I have substituted “Anyone” for “No one.” See also Robert N. Mullin, “Pat Garrett—Two Forgotten Killings,” Password to (Summer 1965): 57–59; and Meadows, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid as I Knew Them, 102.

Garrett spoke of meeting Bat Masterson in an interview published as “He Shot Billy the Kid,” Kansas City Journal, July 20, 1902, clipping typescript in Maurice G. Fulton Collection, University of Arizona Library Special Collections, Tucson. For Wyatt Earp’s recollections of Garrett, see Stuart N. Lake, Wyatt Earp, Frontier Marshal (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1931), 169, 210.

For reports on the decimation of the Texas bison herds and estimates on hides received, see the Galveston Daily News, Mar. 12 and May 3, 1878.

For more on the Glenn-Garrett party’s troubles with the Comanches, see Metz, Pat Garrett, 18–19.

Garrett and Glenn’s abandonment of the buffalo range and arrival at Fort Sumner is described by Glenn, “Pat Garrett as I Knew Him,” and Hough, The Story of the Outlaw, 294–295. Glenn claimed that the trip to New Mexico Territory was undertaken to locate a new hunting camp in the Pecos Valley. But as it is well documented that the bison was essentially nonexistent in the region by this time, it is hard to take his explanation seriously.

For Lucien Maxwell and his family, see Lawrence R. Murphy, Lucien Bonaparte Maxwell: Napoleon of the Southwest (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1983).

My description of Garrett upon his arrival at Fort Sumner is from Emerson Hough, “The Imitation Bad Man,” Washington Post, Jan. 21, 1906; and Glenn, “Pat Garrett as I Knew Him.”

The Garrett quotes about getting a job and his exchange with Pete Maxwell are as quoted in Hough, The Story of the Outlaw, 295–296.

That Garrett and his companions had shacked up with some Hispanic women at Fort Sumner is from Frank Coe, interview with J. Evetts Haley, San Patricio, New Mexico, Aug. 14, 1927, J. Evetts Haley Collection. Coe commented that, “The buffalo hunters were the hardest set of men I believe I ever saw.”

Paco Anaya, a resident of Fort Sumner beginning in 1876, remembered Garrett’s arrival very differently. He states, in an account written in 1931, that Pat showed up at Maxwell’s corrals in August 1878 looking “like a tramp.” Garrett pitched in with the branding for two days, but he was not paid for his labors and he was never hired by Maxwell as a cowboy. Paulita Maxwell Jaramillo offers still another version, stating that Garrett went up to Pete Maxwell’s house and asked for a job as a cowboy. She claimed she stood behind her brother when he greeted Garrett at the door. See A. P. “Paco” Anaya, I Buried Billy, ed. James H. Earle (College Station, Tex.: Creative Publishing Company, 1991), 74–75. Paulita’s account, as well as her description of Garrett, is in Walter Noble Burns, The Saga of Billy the Kid (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1926), 196.

The weekly Fort Sumner bailes are noted by Paulita in Burns, The Saga of Billy the Kid, 185.

Metz, Pat Garrett, 40, mentions the hog business. Burns, The Saga of Billy the Kid, 171, states that Garrett partnered with Beaver Smith in a store and saloon. Paco Anaya says that Garrett partnered with a Sam Lock in a “little cantina” at Fort Sumner. Anaya may be referring to Fred S. Locke, who is enumerated in the 1880 U.S. Census as a thirty-eight-year-old “Saloon Keeper” living in East Las Vegas. Anaya is the source for the story of Garrett butchering stolen cattle. See Paco Anaya’s I Buried Billy, 76–77.

The John Meadows quote about Garrett being a “working devil” is from his interview with J. Evetts Haley, Alamogordo, New Mexico, June 13, 1936, J. Evetts Haley Collection. Meadows, an important source for information on Billy and Garrett, was a friend of both men. He served as a deputy sheriff under Garrett beginning in 1896.

The newspaper mentions of Billy’s age that I am referencing appear in Newman’s Thirty-Four of Jan. 26, 1881, and Newman’s Semi-Weekly of Apr. 2, 1881. Newman’s Thirty-Four stated that it got its information on Billy’s age from the White Oaks Golden Era,adding that “it ought to know.” Some authors have asserted that the November 23 birth date was assigned to the Kid because it was the same as Garrett’s ghostwriter Ash Upson’s. However, I have been unable to locate any contemporary document that verifies that Upson’s birthday was indeed November 23. The earliest reference I have for that date is Walter L. Upson, The Upson Family in America (New Haven, Conn.: The Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Co., 1940), 179. It has been argued that Upson, who boarded in the Kid’s household in Silver City, remembered Billy’s birthday precisely because it was the same as his own. All of which leads nowhere.

Many historians and buffs have attempted to sort out Billy’s childhood; their works are cited in my bibliography. See particularly Jerry Weddle, Antrim Is My Stepfather’s Name : The Boyhood of Billy the Kid (Tucson: Arizona Historical Society, 1993); Waldo E. Koop, “Billy the Kid: The Trail of a Kansas Legend,” The Trail Guide 9 (Sept. 1964):1-19; Robert N. Mullin, “The Boyhood of Billy the Kid,” in Frederick W. Nolan, ed., The Billy the Kid Reader (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007), 214-224; and Jack DeMattos, “The Search for Billy the Kid’s Roots,” Real West 21 (Nov. 1978): 12-19, 39.

Billy’s brother, Joseph, is found in the 1880 U.S. Census for Silverton, San Juan County, Colorado, as a seventeen-year-old miner with a birthplace of New York. He is enumerated as Joseph Antrim, and his father’s birthplace is also given as New York. His mother’s is given as England. Interestingly, some former schoolmates of the McCarty brothers remembered Joseph as being the eldest. Also, newspaper accounts from the early 1880s stated that Joseph was a half brother of Henry.

For Wichita, see L. Curtis Wood, Dynamics of Faith: Wichita, 1870-1897 (Wichita: Wichita State University, 1969); Stan Hoig, Cowtown Wichita and the Wild, Wicked West (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2007); and 1870 U.S. Census for Wichita Township, Sedgwick County, Kansas. My source for the number of longhorns that crossed at Wichita during the 1870 season is the Galveston Daily News, July 7, 1870.

The quote regarding Denver’s healthful qualities is from The Alton Telegraph, Alton, Illinois, Feb. 17, 1871.

The Antrim-McCarty marriage was documented in both the county marriage book and the records of the Presbyterian Church. Copies of these marriage records are in the William H. Bonney Collection (AC 017-P), Fray Angélico Chávez History Library, Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe.

The observations of the Santa Fe Sentinel on the rush to Silver City are from the Galveston Daily News, June 25, 1873. Some accounts claim that the Antrims first settled in the mining camp of Georgetown, eighteen miles northeast of Silver City. If so, it was a very brief sojourn, no more than a few weeks, if not a few days. See Weddle, Antrim Is My Stepfather’s Name, 2

My source for wages in Silver City is The M’Kean County Miner, Smethport, Pennsylvania, Apr. 3, 1873.

The Louis Abraham and Harry Whitehill quotes are from Weddle, Antrim Is My Stepfather’s Name, 6; and Mullin, “The Boyhood of Billy the Kid,” 221.

Harry Whitehill stated that Henry McCarty was the “Head Man in the [minstrel] show,” which would have made him the interlocutor. See Robert C. Toll, Blacking Up : The Minstrel Show in Nineteenth-Century America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1974).

My sources for Ash Upson are Maurice G. Fulton to Eve Ball, no date, Box 20, Folder 21, Eve Ball Papers; Mrs. Jerry Dunaway to Eve Ball, Lovington, New Mexico, Feb. 29, 1948, interview typescript, Box 11, Folder 2, Eve Ball Papers; and James D. Shinkle, Reminiscences of Roswell Pioneers (Roswell, N.Mex.: Hall-Poorbaugh Press, 1965), 8-24.

Chauncey Truesdell as quoted in Weddle, Antrim Is My Stepfather’s Name, 15.

For Billy’s planned heist of the candy/furniture store, see Allie Anderson, “Billy the Kid,” typescript, Box 4, Folder 2, Eve Ball Papers.

The Harvey H. Whitehill interview appeared in the Silver City Enterprise, Jan. 3, 1902. My description of Whitehill comes from William C. McGaw, “Billy Was Just Another Brat at Silver City,” El Paso Herald-Post, Nov. 5, 1960.

The robbery of the Chinese laundry and Billy’s subsequent jail escape were reported in the Grant County Herald, Silver City, Sept. 5 and 26, 1875. The operators of the laundry, Charley Sun and Sam Chong, are enumerated in the 1880 U.S. Census. Sun, thirty years old, was still residing in Silver City with his wife and two daughters; occupation, “Washing & Ironing.” Chong, twenty-five years old and single, had relocated to Tucson, Arizona, where his occupation was “works in Laundry.” The quote from Sheriff Whitehill’s daughter appears in Josie Bishop, “Wild Women of the West,” The American Weekly, Dec. 15, 1946. Josie was not born until 1875, the same year as the Kid’s arrest, so she is not speaking here from firsthand observation. She also claimed to have played with Billy the Kid as a child, which is patently false.

Mary Chase’s recollections of her former student were related by her daughter, Patience Glennon, to Bill McGaw, El Paso Herald-Post, Dec. 17, 1960.

For more on Billy’s activities in Arizona Territory, see Weddle, Antrim Is My Stepfather’s Name; and Lee Cotten, “True Tales of Billy the Kid: The Kid in Arizona, 1875-1877,” The Kid (Mar. 1990): 7-15 and ( July 1990): 10-19.

The William Antrim quote ordering Billy to “get out” is from Harry Whitehill as quoted in Weddle, Antrim Is My Stepfather’s Name, 31.

The reference to the Kid being a “lightweight” at the Hooker ranch is from Weddle, Antrim Is My Stepfather’s Name, 35.

For information on John R. Mackie, see Frederick Nolan, “First Blood: Another Look at the Killing of ‘Windy’ Cahill,” in Nolan, ed., The Billy the Kid Reader, 226-227.

The quote from Miles L. Wood about Billy and Mackie is from an undated manuscript by Wood in the Robert G. McCubbin Collection, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

It is significant that Billy was overtaken by the Camp Grant troopers near McMillen’s Camp. Researcher Jerry Weddle determined that one of the miners at McMillen’s Camp at this time was none other than William Antrim. Henry’s stepfather was back in Silver City, New Mexico, by February 24, 1877. See Weddle, Antrim Is My Stepfather’s Name, 36 and 64 n. 63.

The original complaint of Lewis C. Hartman, dated Feb. 16, 1877, is in the Robert G. McCubbin Collection. The complaint is the first written reference to Billy’s soon-to-be-famous sobriquet.

Miles Wood’s account of his arrest of Billy and Mackie at Hotel de Luna and the difficult task of keeping Billy locked up is quoted from Weddle, Antrim Is My Stepfather’s Name, 39 and 41.

For “Windy” Cahill, see Philip J. Rasch, Trailing Billy the Kid, ed. Robert K. DeArment (Laramie, Wyo.: National Association for Outlaw and Lawman History, 1995), 182-193; 1870 U.S. Census for Camp Crittenden, Pima County, Arizona Territory; and Statement of Second Lieutenant William J. Ross regarding discharge of Francis Cahill, Prescott, Arizona, Nov. 2, 1874, Yavapai County Board of Supervisors (RC 113), Box 1, Folder 1, Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records, Phoenix.

Gus Gildea is a key source for what happened between Billy and Cahill in Atkins’s saloon, including the exchange of words between the two as they struggled on the floor. Gildea’s recollections are found in J. Fred Denton, “Billy the Kid’s Friend Tells for First Time of Thrilling Incidents,” Tucson Daily Citizen, Mar. 28, 1931; and the El Paso Herald-Post, July 12, 1934.

The Garrett quote about Billy refusing to stay whipped is from The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid, 9.

Cahill’s deathbed deposition appeared in Tucson’s Arizona Weekly Star of Aug. 23, 1877. It is reproduced in Cotten, “True Tales of Billy the Kid: The Kid in Arizona,” The Kid ( July 1990): 10.

Chauncey Truesdell claimed to have witnessed the last meeting of Billy and his brother, Joseph. He has Henry arriving at the Nicolai farm with two Indian companions, which seems far-fetched. See Truesdell as quoted in Weddle, Antrim Is My Stepfather’s Name, 46-47.

Billy’s former teacher related to her daughter many details about Billy’s visit to her home in Georgetown, including how Billy told her of his tearful meeting with brother Joseph and their good-bye kiss. See the El Paso Herald-Post, Dec. 17, 1960.


Billy was spotted in Cooke’s Canyon by Samuel P. Carpenter, a thirty-six-year-old Silver City contractor, as reported in the Mesilla Valley Independent, Oct. 13, 1877.

For more on Jesse Evans, see Grady E. McCright and James H. Powell, Jessie Evans : Lincoln County Badman (College Station, Tex.: Creative Publishing Company, 1983). The Jesse Evans involved in the Kansas counterfeiting scheme is mentioned in Koop, “Billy the Kid: The Trail of a Kansas Legend,” 16-17, which also includes the quote regarding the decision of the court.

Fountain’s call to string up the Evans gang is in the Mesilla Valley Independent, Oct. 13, 1877. The journey of The Boys across southern New Mexico was reported in the Mesilla Valley Independent of Oct. 6 and 13.

The story of the stolen mare, as related by the Kid himself, is in Lily Klasner, “The Kid,” in Nolan, ed., The Billy the Kid Reader, 237.

A description of the Seven Rivers settlement as it appeared in the early 1880s is in the Waterloo Courier, Waterloo, Iowa, Feb. 24, 1897.

The Chisum Range is described in the Thirty-Four, Las Cruces, Apr. 2, 1879.

For a brief biographical sketch of Heiskell Jones, see Nolan, The West of Billy the Kid, 77.

In Garrett, The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid, 32-39, may be found the melodramatic account of how the Kid and a companion, Tom O’Keefe, stumbled upon a party of Apaches, the result of which was the separation of the Kid from both his partner and his horse. Whether or not this episode actually occurred is something else, but Nib Jones said that Billy told this story to his mother and that “Ash [Upson] told us the same story.” Ash Upson is enumerated as a boarder in the Heiskell Jones household in the 1880 U.S. Census for the 5th Precinct, Lincoln County, New Mexico. The Nib Jones interview, as well as interviews with Nib’s brothers, are in Box 13, Folder 7, and Box 14, Folders 1-3, Eve Ball Papers.

Lily Casey, who would become Lily Klasner, is quoted from her book, My Girlhood Among Outlaws, 174. Robert Casey’s negative opinion of the Kid on that first meeting is from an interview with J. Evetts Haley, Picacho, New Mexico, June 25, 1937, J. Evetts Haley Collection. Casey also told Haley that once the Kid started working for Englishman John H. Tunstall, “he paid his way, and he was a different man altogether."

The widow Casey did not complete her cattle drive to Texas. Tunstall claimed 209 of the cattle in her herd, and about October 25 a posse under Dick Brewer stopped the Casey caravan and cut Tunstall’s animals out. Her sons Robert and William were subsequently arrested and taken to the county seat of Lincoln. See Frederick Nolan, The Lincoln County War: A Documentary History (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992), 167-168.

Frank Coe’s recollection is from the El Paso Times, Sept. 16, 1923. Coe had a way of remembering his old friend as larger than life. So did a lot of others.

Some histories have Billy working for John Chisum during this period. While Billy likely visited Chisum’s South Springs ranch headquarters, both Lily Klasner and Florencio Chávez were emphatic in stating that Billy was never employed as a Chisum cowboy. Also, James Chisum, who joined his brother’s operation on the Pecos in 1877, testified in court that “Billy the Kid didn’t work for me.” See Klasner, “The Kid,” 245-246; Eugene Cunningham, “Fought with Billy the Kid,” Frontier Times 9 (Mar. 1932): 243; and Territory of New Mexico vs. Robert Casey, et al., Case #751, New Mexico Supreme Court Records, New Mexico State Records Center & Archives, Santa Fe (NMSRCA).

The capture of The Boys and their card playing in the Lincoln jail was reported in the Mesilla Valley Independent, Oct. 27, 1877. My description of the jail comes from Robert Brady, “Billy the Kid Story” (typescript), as told to Edith L. Crawford, Box 49, Folder 6, Marta Weigle Collection (AC 361), Chávez History Library; and the Mesilla Valley Independent, Oct. 13, 1877.

For an excellent history of the town of Lincoln, see John P. Wilson, Merchants, Guns & Money: The Story of Lincoln County and Its Wars (Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1987).

Ham Mills’s murder of Balenzuela is discussed in Nolan, The West of Billy the Kid, 47 and 306 n. 9. Interestingly, according to the 1870 U.S. Census for Lincoln County, Mills was married to a Hispanic woman, with whom he then had one child.

For details of the Evans jailbreak, I have relied on the primary sources quoted in Nolan, The Lincoln County War, 171-173. In 1938, Robert Brady, the son of Sheriff Brady, told the story that Billy and “his gang” simply hunted up the jailer and forced him to turn over the keys. See Brady, “Billy the Kid Story."

My sources for Billy’s incarceration in December of 1877 are Robert Casey, in his interview with Haley, June 25, 1937, cited above; Klasner, “The Kid,” 234 and 241; and Garrett, The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid, 74. The jail stay is also discussed by Nolan, The West of Billy the Kid, 87-88.

For the Lincoln County War, which has had no lack of chroniclers, I have relied upon Frederick Nolan, The Lincoln County War: A Documentary History (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992); John P. Wilson, Merchants, Guns & Money: The Story of Lincoln County and Its Wars (Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1987); Maurice G. Fulton, Maurice Garland Fulton’s History of the Lincoln County War, ed. Robert N. Mullin (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1968); and Robert M. Utley, High Noon in Lincoln County : Violence on the Western Frontier (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1987). For my narrative, I have purposely covered only the high points of the feud as they relate to the Kid. Those interested in all the specifics and the numerous personalities involved-laborious and tiresome, for the most part-should consult the above works.

The quote referring to Murphy & Co.’s local domination is from Klasner, My Girlhood Among Outlaws, 98.

The J. H. Tunstall letter to his father is quoted from Wilson, Merchants, Guns & Money, 63.

For more on Tunstall, see Frederick Nolan, The Life & Death of John Henry Tunstall (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1965).

For more on McSween, see Frederick Nolan, “The Search for Alexander McSween,” New Mexico Historical Review 62 ( July 1987): 287-301. There has been some confusion as to whether or not McSween was a native of Scotland-needlessly so. McSween’s wife, Susan, is the source of the confusion, for she told later scholars that her former husband was born in Canada. McSween, however, stated in his own writings that he was a “Scotchman,” and a biographical sketch published in the Cimarron News and Press, Aug. 8, 1878, stated plainly that McSween was “a native of Scotland.” In 1948, William E. Johnson told Eve Ball about taking his mother, Camelia Olinger, to see the King Vidor-directed film Billy the Kid, released in 1930. Camelia had known many of the principals in the Lincoln County War, including Billy and McSween. “She said the only thing in the picture true to the facts,” Johnson recalled, “was the Scotch brogue of McSween.” The Johnson interview is in Box 13, Folder 3, Eve Ball Papers.

A biographical sketch of James J. Dolan appears in Nolan, The West of Billy the Kid, 154. Dolan’s obituary, dated Mar. 4, 1898, observed that he had been “a good hater,” which was an understatement. The obituary is reproduced in Lillian H. Bidal, Pisacah: A Place of Plenty(El Paso, Tex.: Robert E. and Evelyn McKee Foundation, 1995), 307 n. 267.

The John Middleton and Robert Widenmann accounts of Tunstall’s murder are published in Nolan, The Lincoln County War, 198, 209-210, and 231-232. Billy gave his version of the murder in a June 8, 1878, deposition to Department of Justice special investigator Frank Warner Angel, File 44-4-8-3, RG 60, Records of the Department of Justice, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

That the corpse was scratched and its clothes torn is from an interview of Edith Coe Rigsby to Eve Ball, Ruidoso, New Mexico, Aug. 22, 1967, Box 16, Folder 29, Eve Ball Collection. Edith Coe Rigsby was the daughter of Frank Coe.

Billy’s pledge to “get some of them before I die” is quoted from Frank Coe, interview with J. Evetts Haley, San Patricio, New Mexico, Aug. 14, 1927, J. Evetts Haley Collection.

The Frank Collinson quote is from his book, Life in the Saddle, ed. Mary Whatley Clarke (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1963), 129.

Billy’s heated exchange with Sheriff Brady is quoted from Nolan, The West of Billy the Kid, 109.

My account of the capture and killing of William “Buck” Morton and Frank Baker essentially follows the version in Garrett, The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid, 46-49, much of which supposedly came from the Kid. Morton’s letter to H. H. Marshall, dated South Spring River, Mar. 8, 1878, was published in the Mesilla Valley Independent, Apr. 13, 1878. See also “Regulator Victims,” Wild West 19 (Feb. 2007): 10.

Billy’s remark to George Coe that he never intended to let Morton and Baker reach Lincoln alive is from George W. Coe, Frontier Fighter: The Autobiography of George W. Coe Who Fought and Rode with Billy the Kid, ed. Doyce B. Nunis Jr. (Chicago: The Lakeside Press, 1984), 132.

For more on Sheriff Brady, see Donald R. Lavash, Sheriff William Brady: Tragic Hero of the Lincoln County War (Santa Fe, N.Mex.: Sunstone Press, 1986).

It has often been written that the Kid was wounded by Billy Mathews as he stooped over Brady’s body. However, Reverend Taylor F. Ealy, who treated French’s wound, wrote in his personal copy of Garrett’s The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid, that Billy “was not hit.” Ealy’s copy of Garrett is in Box 1, Folder 1, Ealy Family Papers, MSS 443 BC, Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

Like most things regarding Billy the Kid, there are wildly conflicting accounts as to what actually happened at Blazer’s Mill on Apr. 4, 1878. Time and again, Frank Coe told the story of how he met with Roberts outside the big house before the shooting began and tried for thirty minutes to talk him into surrendering. Coe also claimed it was Charlie Bowdre, not the Kid, who delivered the fatal gunshot wound to Roberts. Coe’s account is supported by a news report on the fight in the Mesilla Valley Independent, Apr. 13, 1878, as well as by the June 7, 1879, testimony of David M. Easton, who was employed at Blazer’s Mill and claimed to have witnessed the shoot-out. This all may be true. My narrative, however, is based on the recollections and written accounts of the Blazer family, who, like Coe and Easton, were also witnesses to the affray and had the opportunity to later speak with the dying Roberts about what had transpired, as well as with Billy when he stopped at Blazer’s Mill under armed guard in April 1881. Almer Blazer did not have a high opinion of Easton and considered his testimony suspect. For the Blazer accounts, see Almer Blazer, “The Fight at Blazer’s Mill, in New Mexico,” Frontier Times 16 (August 1939): 461-466; Paul Blazer, “The Fight at Blazer’s Mill : A Chapter in the Lincoln County War,” Arizona and the West 6 (Autumn 1964): 203-210; and A. N. Blazer to M. G. Fulton, Mescalero, New Mexico, Apr. 24, 1931, and Aug. 27, 1937, Box 1, Folder 7, Maurice G. Fulton Collection.

The grand jury’s statement exonerating McSween is quoted from Nolan, The Lincoln County War, 270.

McSween’s letter to Tunstall’s sister is quoted from Fulton, Maurice G. Fulton’s History of the Lincoln County War, 205.

The quote from Reverend Ealy’s pupil is from Ruth R. Ealy, Water in a Thirsty Land (privately published), 80.

Sheriff Peppin’s note to Colonel Dudley is quoted in Nolan, The Lincoln County War, 315.

The man who overheard the conversation between Colonel Dudley and Jimmy Dolan was Samuel G. Beard. His testimony is published in R. M. Barron, ed., Court of Inquiry, Lieutenant Colonel N. A. M. Dudley, Fort Stanton, New Mexico, May-June-July 1879(Edina, Minn.: Beaver’s Pond Press, Inc., 2003), 1: 77.

For more on Nathan A. M. Dudley, see E. Donald Kaye, Nathan Augustus Monroe Dudley, 1825-1910: Rogue, Hero, or Both? (Parker, Colo.: Outskirts Press, 2007).

McSween’s note to Dudley and Dudley’s response are as quoted in Nolan, The Lincoln County War, 325.

McSween’s cry that he had lost his reason is from Taylor F. Ealy, “The Lincoln County War as I Saw It,” c. 1927, Ealy Papers, University of Arizona Library, Tucson. The quote urging McSween to make a run for it, which I have attributed to the Kid, is from the same source.

For Billy Bonney’s testimony as to what happened at the McSween house on the night of July 19, see Barron, ed., Court of Inquiry, Lieutenant Colonel N. A. M. Dudley, 1: 185-187.


The Sallie Chisum description of Garrett is from Burns, The Saga of Billy the Kid, 17.

The Paulita Maxwell description of Juanita Martínez is from Burns, The Saga of Billy the Kid, 186.

Paco Anaya, in I Buried Billy, 75, gives the date of the Garrett-Martínez wedding only as November 1879. Anaya is my source for the presence of Billy and his gang at the wedding. There is some disagreement over the identity of Garrett’s first wife. Leon Metz suggests that Pat’s first wife was named Juanita Gutiérrez, possibly a sister of his second wife, Apolinaria Gutiérrez. However, both Paulita Maxwell and Paco Anaya identify Juanita Martínez as his first bride. And Pat Garrett’s son, Jarvis, in handwritten corrections found in a copy of Metz’s 1974 Garrett biography, wrote that “Mama did not have a sister named Juanita Gutierrez.” (My thanks to historian Marc Simmons for supplying me with the Jarvis Garrett notes.) Unfortunately, no wedding record or certificate for Garrett’s wedding to Juanita Martínez has been located.

That Billy the Kid’s favorite dance tune was “Turkey in the Straw” comes from Frank Coe, who was in a good position to know, as Frank played the fiddle. See Frank Coe interview with J. Evetts Haley, Feb. 20, 1828, J. Evetts Haley Collection.

For over a hundred years, Thomas Folliard’s surname has been published incorrectly as O’Folliard. Garrett is the exception, giving the boy’s full name as Tom O. Folliard. There is no such surname as O’Folliard, and indeed, the 1870 U.S. Census for Zavala County, Texas, enumerates a nine-year-old “Thomas Folliard” living in the household of David Cook, an uncle. Tom’s parents, Stephen and Sarah Rose, are enumerated in the 1860 U.S. Census for Uvalde County with their surname spelled “Fulliard."

For my description of Tom Folliard, I have relied upon an interview with Frank Collinson in the Amarillo Globe-News, Aug. 14, 1938; Frank Coe’s interview with J. Evetts Haley, San Patricio, New Mexico, Aug. 14, 1927; and Susan McSween Barber’s account as published in Miguel Antonio Otero, The Real Billy the Kid, 117.

Bowdre’s father, A. R. Bowdre, is enumerated in the 1860 U.S. Census for DeSoto County, Mississippi, with real estate valued at $51,000 and a personal estate (read slaves ) at $118,000. Ten years later, the value of A. R. Bowdre’s real estate was given as $35,000 and his personal estate as $4,500.

Bowdre’s rampage in Lincoln is fully described in a letter published in the Mesilla Valley Democrat, Sept. 8, 1877.

George Coe’s assessment of Bowdre and Billy is quoted from Miguel Antonio Otero, The Real Billy the Kid, 136.

Frank Collinson considered Bowdre the best dressed of the “Kid’s men.” See the Amarillo News-Globe, Aug. 14, 1938.

Billy’s quote about remaining in New Mexico is from George W. Coe, Frontier Fighter, 200.

Wallace’s amnesty proclamation may be found in the microfilm series Territorial Archives of New Mexico, roll 21, frame 505, NMSRCA.

My account of Chapman’s murder comes from a letter written by “Max” at Fort Stanton on Feb. 23, 1879, and published in the Thirty-Four, Las Cruces, Mar. 5, 1879; and Edgar A. Waltz, “Retrospection,” typescript copy in Lincoln County War History File #20, NMSRCA.

Wallace’s comment reflecting his frustration with New Mexico is quoted from Calvin Horn, New Mexico’s Troubled Years: The Story of the Early Territorial Governors (Albuquerque: Horn & Wallace, 1963), 200.

Ira Leonard is quoted from Nolan, The Lincoln County War, 387.

According to Louisa Beaubien Barrett, Juanita Garrett “only lived a few days.” Paulita Maxwell said she lived three weeks. See Jerry Weddle, “The Kid at Old Fort Sumner,” The Outlaw Gazette 5 (Dec. 1992): 8; and Burns, The Saga of Billy the Kid, 186.

A powerful cornerstone of Kid lore is that the Kid and Garrett were the closest of friends. Both Paulita Maxwell and George Coe said so, and it has been portrayed as fact by numerous authors and screenwriters who could not resist the potently tragic tale of best friends who find themselves on opposite sides of the law, with the result that one is forced to take the other’s life. Garrett is partly to blame for this, for in his 1882 biography of Billy, he stated that, “I have known ‘The Kid’ personally since and during the continuance of what was known as ‘The Lincoln County War,’ up to the moment of his death, of which I was the unfortunate instrument, in the discharge of my official duty.” But this statement of Garrett’s was more an attempt to establish his authority for writing such a book; he was not claiming a close personal friendship with Billy the Kid. A more realistic version of their relationship was revealed by James E. Sligh in an obscure article published in 1908, the year of Garrett’s death. Sligh had grown up in Claiborne Parish, not far from the Garrett plantation, and although the two had not known each other in Louisiana, they had made each other’s acquaintance in White Oaks in 1880, where they had ample opportunity-and ample reason-to talk. Garrett told Sligh that while he knew the Kid well, they were neither friends nor enemies: “He minds his business and I attend to mine. He visits my wife’s folks sometimes, but he never comes around me. I just simply don’t want anything to do with him, and he knows it, and he knows that he has nothing to fear from me as long as he does not interfere with me and my affairs.” See J. E. Sligh, “The Lincoln County War: A Sequel to the Story of ‘Billy the Kid,’” The Overland Monthly 52 (Aug. 1908): 170.

Several of Billy’s contemporaries remembered that he was ambidextrous. That Billy favored his right hand when shooting is from Charles Nebo “Nib” Jones to Eve Ball, May 9, 1948, Globe, Arizona, Eve Ball Papers.

Paulita Maxwell told the story of Garrett and Billy shooting at a jackrabbit to Burns, The Saga of Billy the Kid, 197.

Emerson Hough was amazed by Garrett’s skill with a six-shooter. In a rare example of immodesty, Garrett told Hough, “I am as good a revolver shot as I ever saw. I do not boast of that, but simply say it is true so far as I know.” Garrett also told Hough that he had never been beaten in a revolver match. See Hough’s “The American Six-Shooter: What the Real Six-Shooter Is-What It Will Do and Will Not Do,” The Outing Magazine ( Jan. 1909): 505-506.

Garrett’s assessment of the Kid’s shooting skills is from the Daily New Mexican, July 21, 1881. The Garrett quote regarding the importance of “nerve” is from the Davenport Republican, Davenport, Iowa, Aug. 7, 1902.

For Billy’s killing of Joe Grant, I have relied almost exclusively upon the account and quotes in Garrett, The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid, 74-77. The subsequent episode at Sunnyside is from the Las Vegas Daily Optic, Feb. 22, 1881; and the recollections of Milnor Rudolph’s grandson (also named Milnor Rudolph) in “Billy the Kid” (typescript), Marta Weigle Collection, Chávez History Library. Paco Anaya claimed that Joe Grant had been hired by John Chisum to assassinate Billy. See I Buried Billy, 81.

Apolinaria’s birth year is uncertain; her enumerations in the various censuses seldom agree, and the birth year on her grave marker does not agree with any of the censuses. Her nickname, “Negra,” is mentioned by both Paco Anaya and, amazingly enough, by Mrs. James Patrick Smith of Claiborne Parish, Louisiana. In a 1967 interview, Mrs. Smith recalled that Pat and Negra visited the parish every summer “after about the middle 1880s” to see Pat’s sister, Margaret Lay. She remembered that “Pat’s wife was a dark complected lady with jet black hair and eyes.” See Paco Anaya, I Buried Billy, 77, and Mrs. James Patrick Smith to J. J. Smith, May 23, 1967, Box 18, Louisiana Folder, Leon C. Metz Papers.

The Garrett-Gutiérrez marriage is recorded in Marriage Records, 1857-1946, La Yglesia de San Jose (St. Joseph), Anton Chico, New Mexico, Archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Microfilm Roll 61-A, NMSRCA. Married on that same day, in what was possibly a double ceremony, were Garrett’s friend Barney Mason and Juana Madrid. There is some debate as to whether these wedding ceremonies took place at Anton Chico or Fort Sumner. It is possible that the priest married the couples at Fort Sumner and entered the record into the marriage book upon his return to Anton Chico.

For Joseph C. Lea, see Elvis E. Fleming, Captain Joseph C. Lea: From Confederate Guerrilla to New Mexico Patriarch (Las Cruces: Yucca Tree Press, 2002).

For Lea’s recruitment of Garrett, see George Curry, George Curry, 1861-1947: An Autobiography, ed. H. B. Hening (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1958), 40-41.

A tintype (more properly, ferrotype) produces a mirror image of its subject. Previous historians and writers, unaware of this significant fact, have mistakenly concluded that Billy was left-handed. The most famous result of this error is the 1958 Paul Newman/Arthur Penn film The Left Handed Gun. The illustration of the tintype reproduced in this book has been corrected so that Billy appears as he would in life, with his pistol on his right hip.

Mescalero Apache Indian Percy Big Mouth is quoted from Sherry Robinson, Apache Voices: Their Stories of Survival as told to Eve Ball (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2000), 159.

For Rudabaugh, see Frederick Nolan, “Dirty Dave: The Life and Times of Billy the Kid’s Worst Friend,” The Kid (Dec. 1989): 7-13; and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, June 19, 1881.

For Tom Pickett, see Don Cline, “Tom Pickett: Friend of Billy the Kid,” True West 44 ( July 1997): 40-49; Rasch, Trailing Billy the Kid, 99-109; and the Las Vegas Daily Optic, Dec. 27 and 29, 1880.

For Billy Wilson, see Rasch, Trailing Billy the Kid, 58-71.

Azariah Wild’s New Mexico reports are found in Reports of Special Operative Azariah F. Wild, Daily Reports of U.S. Secret Service Agents, 1875-1936, Records of the United States Secret Service, RG 87, Microfilm T915, roll 308, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

There are two versions of George Curry’s encounter with Billy the Kid, and I have drawn upon both. See Curry, George Curry, 18-19; and William A. Keleher, The Fabulous Frontier: Twelve New Mexico Items (Santa Fe: The Rydal Press, 1945), 62.

W. G. Ritch’s Thanksgiving Proclamation is in the Territorial Archives of New Mexico, roll 99, frame 139.


Frank Nelson Page told of his encounter with the Kid and Billy Wilson in a long letter to the New Mexico State Tribune, Albuquerque, circa 1926; a typescript copy is in the Maurice G. Fulton Collection. Page’s wife, Albenita, a native New Mexican, also had a memorable encounter with Billy at Puerto de Luna. She said that the Kid walked into Grzelachowski’s mercantile one day when it was unattended and began taking dress goods off the shelves and handing them to her and other women who were also in the store. She said that the women did not tell on Billy. See the obituary for Albenita Page in the Albuquerque Tribune, Aug. 12, 1958.

The Kid’s involvement in the mail robberies is noted by Azariah Wild in his reports of Oct. 22 and 28, and Nov. 6, 1880. Billy’s letter to Ira Leonard is discussed in Wild’s reports for Oct. 6 and Oct. 9. The gang’s raid on White Oaks is mentioned by Wild in his report for Nov. 22.

For the events surrounding the Kid, Wilson, and Rudabaugh’s standoff with the White Oaks posse and the killing of Jimmy Carlyle, see Garrett, The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid, 82-85; the account of Joe Steck as published in Keleher, The Fabulous Frontier, 59-62; and Billy’s own account as originally published in the Las Vegas Gazette and reprinted in Keleher, Violence in Lincoln County, 288-289.

For a biographical sketch of Jimmy Carlyle, see Miles Gilbert, Leo Remiger, and Sharon Cunningham, Encyclopedia of Buffalo Hunters and Skinners, vol. 1 (Union City, Tenn.: Pioneer Press, 2003), 90. Carlyle’s estate inventory lists, among other things, one buffalo gun, value $10.00, and one pair mules, value $125.00. (Did the posse recover Carlyle’s stolen mules at the Greathouse-Kuch ranch?) See probate file #98, Lincoln County Clerk’s Office, Carrizozo, New Mexico.

Dave Rudabaugh, as quoted in the Las Vegas Daily Optic, Jan. 21, 1881, is the source for the number of shots fired at Carlyle and who fired them.

There is evidence that Garrett had served as a Lincoln County deputy sheriff earlier in the year. According to the minutes from the Lincoln County Commissioners’ book, Garrett presented accounts against the county on May 7 and July 9 for “services rendered as Deputy Sheriff.” What exactly these services were is unknown, although they appear to have been of a temporary nature. Typed transcriptions of the minutes pertaining to Garrett are in the Donald Cline Collection, Series 10419, Folder 69, NMSRCA.

Wild’s comment about the deputy U.S. marshals is quoted from his report for Friday, Dec. 4, 1880.

For Barney Mason, I have relied upon Philip J. Rasch, Warriors of Lincoln County, ed. Robert K. DeArment (Laramie, Wyo.: National Association for Outlaw and Lawman History, 1998), 102-107; Azariah Wild’s report for Nov. 20, 1880; and Mason’s entries in the 1880 and 1910 U.S. censuses for New Mexico and California, respectively.

For the activities of Garrett’s posse on its jaunts to the Yerby ranch and Los Portales, I have relied primarily on the reports of Azariah Wild and Garrett’s own account in his The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid.

Los Portales today hardly resembles the distinctive rock formation that greeted Billy the Kid and others in the late nineteenth century. For histories of Los Portales and, most importantly, photographs that depict the site as it probably appeared in Billy and Garrett’s time, see the Clovis News-Journal, Clovis, New Mexico, May 29, 1938, and June 2, 1940.

John P. Meadows is the source for Garrett’s stipulation that Charlie Bowdre arrive at their parley unarmed. See Meadows, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, 43-44.

For the Garrett-Leiva gunfight, I have supplemented Garrett’s own account with newspaper articles in the Daily New Mexican, Dec. 17, 1880, and the Las Vegas Daily Optic, Aug. 18, 1881. Leiva was subsequently charged with assault with intent to kill and tried in Las Vegas in August 1881. He was found guilty but received only a small fine, which, according to the Las Vegas Gazette of Sept. 7, 1881, incensed Puerto de Luna area residents. Some of the “best citizens” of that section told the Gazette that Leiva would likely be lynched if he returned to Puerto de Luna. Over four decades later, Francisco Romero, objecting to his unflattering portrayal in Garrett’s The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid, sought to prevent the distribution of a 1927 reprint of Garrett’s book by Macmillan. In an attempt to save face, Romero wrote an alternate version of that day’s events in which he claimed to have disarmed Garrett and Mason in Grzelachowski’s store after the gunfight. Not likely. Romero was successful in getting the reprint withdrawn for a short time, but Macmillan re-released the book unchanged. See Maurice G. Fulton to James H. East, Roswell, New Mexico, Sept. 15, 1928; and Statement of Francisco Romero, Box 16, Leon C. Metz Papers.


Billy’s original letter to Governor Wallace of Dec. 12, 1880, is available for viewing online as part of the Indiana Historical Society’s Digital Image Library (http:// According to Garrett, Billy also wrote a letter about this same time to Joseph C. Lea at Roswell, saying that “if the officers would give him a little time, and let him alone until he could rest up his horses and get ready, he would leave the country for good; but if he was pursued, or harassed, he would inaugurate a bloody war, and fight it out to the fatal end.” See The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid, 101.

Governor Wallace’s reward proclamation of Dec. 13 is found in the Territorial Archives of New Mexico, roll 21, frame 565. Notice of the proclamation was published in the Daily New Mexican, Dec. 14, 1880. The Las Vegas Gazette’s criticism of the reward, published in its issue of Dec. 15, 1880, is as quoted in Keleher, Violence in Lincoln County, 291.

There are several primary accounts that illuminate Garrett’s hunt for and capture of the Kid. The best, and the one produced closest to when the events occurred, is Garrett’s The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid, from which I have drawn the bulk of my quoted material. Charlie Siringo, one of the Texas posse members who chose not to go with Garrett, published his version of these events in 1885 in his A Texas Cow Boy, or, Fifteen Years on the Hurricane Deck of a Spanish Pony. Siringo reproduced the account of posse member Lon Chambers, who Siringo claimed related it to him a short time later. Unfortunately, Siringo liked to spin a good tale even more than the Kid. Other posse members also left accounts, but they were either written or collected decades later and, like Siringo’s, are not always reliable. By far the best of these is James East’s interview with J. Evetts Haley, Douglas, Arizona, Sept. 27, 1927, J. Evetts Haley Collection. See also the account of Louis Bousman in James H. Earle, ed., The Capture of Billy the Kid (College Station, Tex.: Creative Publishing Company, 1988). The two Las Vegas newspapers, the Gazetteand the Daily Optic, also contain valuable contemporary reporting on these same events. See Billy the Kid: Las Vegas Newspaper Accounts of His Career, 1880-1881.

Garrett’s comment about Tom Folliard’s scream after being shot is from Hough, The Story of the Outlaw, 302.

The Stinking Spring site is on private property east of the present-day community of Taiban, New Mexico. Only the foundation remains of the rock house, which was discovered in 1984. Some accounts mention that the house had a window, but the majority seems to agree that the only opening in the structure was the doorway.

Contemporary writings, including Garrett, refer to the site as Stinking Spring, singular, while later accounts refer to it in the plural, Stinking Springs. I’ve followed the historic usage. See Allen Barker, “I Refound Stinking Springs,” True West 36 (Feb. 1989): 14-19.

Garrett does not mention Barney Mason’s threat to kill Billy after he was in custody. However, both Jim East and Louis Bousman related the incident. East told the story twice, in the 1927 interview with J. Evetts Haley (cited above) and in a May 1, 1920, letter to Charlie Siringo, reprinted in Siringo’s History of “Billy the Kid," 97-105. Bousman told it in his interview with Haley, Oct. 23, 1934.

Both Bousman and East recalled their unpleasant encounter with Manuela Bowdre. East, in his letter to Siringo of May 1, 1920, claimed that Bowdre’s wife hit him over the head with a branding iron. In a sad follow-up to Bowdre’s death, Acting Governor Ritch received a letter from Captain Joseph C. Lea on Dec. 29 pleading Bowdre’s case and requesting Governor Wallace to ask the district attorney to throw out Bowdre’s murder indictment (for the killing of Roberts at Blazer’s Mill). Lea also enclosed a letter he had received from Bowdre in which Bowdre asked for his help. Lea’s letter was written on Dec. 24, the day after Bowdre was killed by Garrett’s posse. See Lea to Wallace, Roswell, New Mexico, Dec. 24, 1880, and Bowdre to Lea, Fort Sumner, New Mexico, Dec. 15, 1880, both in William H. Bonney Collection (AC 017-P), Chávez History Library; and the Daily New Mexican, Dec. 29, 1880.

For the intimate meeting in the Maxwell residence between Billy and Paulita, see East to Charlie Siringo, Apr. 26, 1920, as quoted in Siringo, History of “Billy the Kid," 105-107; and East to Judge William H. Burgess, Douglas, Arizona, May 20, 1926, Research Files, Robert N. Mullin Collection.

East told of Billy’s attempt to trick him in the Puerto de Luna store in his interview with J. Evetts Haley, Sept. 27, 1927.


Olinger’s unusual full name comes from the research of Frederick Nolan, The West of Billy the Kid (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998), 146. Interestingly, Olinger is enumerated in the 1860 U.S. Census for Mound City Township, Linn County, Kansas, as a female (the spelling of the first name in the census is Amaradath). Olinger as the “tall sycamore” is from the Las Vegas Daily Optic of Feb. 22, 1881.

Ranger Gillett’s brief comments on Olinger are in the James Gillett folder, Box 16, Leon C. Metz Papers. The Gus Gildea quote is from A. M. Gildea to Maurice G. Fulton, Del Rio, Texas, June 5, 1929, Box 2, Folder 2, Maurice G. Fulton Collection, University of Arizona Library Special Collections. Pat Garrett’s remarks on his deceased deputy are from Emerson Hough, “The Imitation Bad Man,” Washington Post, Jan. 21, 1906. Garrett made a similar comment about Olinger to Dr. M. G. Paden. See Paden, “Billy the Kid Story” (typescript), as told to Edith L. Crawford, Nov. 22, 1937, Box 49, Folder 6, Marta Weigle Collection (AC 361), Chávez History Library.

Billy’s promise to get Olinger is from Charles Nebo “Nib” Jones to Eve Ball, May 9, 1948, Globe, Arizona, interview typescript, Box 14, Folder 2, Eve Ball Papers. Olinger’s “cur” remark is in the Daily New Mexican, May 3, 1881. Pat Garrett’s description of the hatred that existed between the Kid and Olinger is in his Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid, 119.

The quote praising Deputy Bell is from the Las Vegas Daily Optic, Jan. 21, 1881. For information on Bell’s background, which is frustratingly limited, see O. W. Williams, Pioneer Surveyor-Frontier Lawyer: The Personal Narrative of O. W. Williams, 1877-1902, ed. S. D. Myers (El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1968), 89; and the 1880 U.S. Census for White Oaks, Lincoln County, New Mexico.

The fact that Billy’s cuffs were both on one hand comes from two letters written from Lincoln immediately after the Kid’s courthouse escape. The letters were published in Supplement to the New Southwest and Herald, Silver City, New Mexico, May 14, 1881; and the Daily New Mexican, May 3, 1881. My account of Billy’s escape is drawn from these important letters; a news report published in the White Oaks Golden Era of May 5, 1881; Garrett’s account in his The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid, 120–123, derived in part from interviews with Gottfried Gauss; an account by Gauss that appeared in the Lincoln County Leader, Mar. 1, 1890; and John P. Meadows, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid as I Knew Them: Reminiscences of John P. Meadows, ed. John P. Wilson (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2004), 47–50. Meadows, a friend of Billy’s, claimed he received his account of the escape directly from the Kid.

Billy’s exchange with Garrett regarding the killing of Carlyle is in Garrett, The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid, 119.

Billy’s complaint about Olinger’s bullying is from Meadows, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, 47.

The prophetic warning to Olinger is quoted from the Daily New Mexican, May 3, 1881.

The incident where Olinger left his pistol on the table in front of the Kid is noted in Supplement to the New Southwest and Herald, May 14, 1881.

Olinger’s boast that he could herd his prisoner like a goat is from a previously unknown newspaper interview with Garrett titled “Plucky Patrick Garrett,” newspaper clipping, Nov. 26, 1900, Pat Garrett Clippings File, Denver Public Library (“The Times” is penciled on this clipping, which may indicate the weekly Denver Times-Sun).

Manufactured between 1870 and 1874, not more than twenty-five hundred of the Whitney double-barrel shotguns were ever made. Olinger’s shotgun is now in a private collection, the only firearm in existence that we can know with absolute certainty that Billy once used.

Billy’s suggestion that Olinger might shoot himself accidentally is quoted from Meadows, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, 47.

No one really knows how the Kid overpowered and shot Bell that day. Some claim that a gun had been secreted in the outhouse by a Kid confederate (e.g., see the account of Francisco Salazar in Leslie Traylor, “Facts Regarding the Escape of Billy the Kid,” Frontier Times 13 [July 1936]: 509; and of Harry Aguayo in the Albuquerque Tribune, Aug. 1, 1957). It is a theory to which I do not subscribe. Forensic testing at the courthouse using luminol was conducted in 2004, which revealed substantial blood residue at the top of the courthouse stairs, blood that I believe came from the severe blow Billy delivered to Bell’s head. For a news report on the forensic investigation, see the Santa Fe New Mexican, Aug. 2, 2004.

The last words Billy spoke to Olinger before he killed him have several variations. My source is Garrett, The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid, 121. However, I do not believe that Olinger had time to say to Gauss, “Yes, and he’s killed me, too,” as Garrett (and Sam Peckinpah) would have us believe.

Severo Gallegos told his story to Eve Ball in 1949. Severo’s role that day has been overlooked by most historians of the Kid. Young Severo is enumerated in the 1880 U.S. Census, living in the town of Lincoln, and I am inclined to accept his story. See Severo Gallegos to Eve Ball, Apr. 5, 1949, interview typescript, Box 8, Folder 21, Eve Ball Papers. Severo gave a slightly different version of his actions in an interview with William V. Morrison on Oct. 11, 1949. See C. L. Sonnichsen and William V. Morrison, Alias Billy the Kid (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1955), 45 n. 44.

My reference to Lilly and La Rue and their feeble efforts to stop the Kid is from the Las Vegas Daily Optic, May 3, 1881.

Billy’s cursing at the dead bodies of Olinger and Bell is quoted from Supplement to the New Southwest and Herald, May 14, 1881.

Billy’s promise to return Billy Burt’s horse is from Garrett, The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid, 122.

The quote referring to the Kid having acted with the “coolest deliberation” comes from the Supplement to the New Southwest and Herald, May 14, 1881.

Garrett’s admission to some fault in the Kid’s escape is from his The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid, 123.

Several individuals claimed to have encountered Billy after he fled Lincoln. For Francisco Gomez’s account, see Leslie Traylor, “Facts Regarding the Escape of Billy the Kid,” Frontier Times 13 (July 1936): 510. Yginio Salazar related his meeting with the Kid in an interview with J. Evetts Haley on Aug. 17, 1927 (J. Evetts Haley Collection, Midland, Texas). Salazar is buried in the cemetery at Lincoln, New Mexico.

The Lincoln County settlement of Las Tablas was renamed Arabella in 1901. It appears on maps today as Arabela.

The quotes for Billy’s meeting with John Meadows come from both Meadows’s interview with Haley on June 13, 1936, and his Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid as I Knew Them: Reminiscences of John P. Meadows, ed. John P. Wilson (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2004), 50–52.

Billy’s friend Martin Chavez claimed that he had talked to Billy at Las Tablas after the Lincoln courthouse escape and that Billy had told him that he was going to Fort Sumner to “see the girl who is to be my wife. If I die, all right; then I will die for her.” Chavez’s statement is in a draft chapter intended for Burns’s The Saga of Billy the Kid. This draft chapter clearly identifies Paulita Maxwell as Billy’s sweetheart; however, on orders from his publisher, Burns revised the chapter to include Paulita’s denial (the publisher, Doubleday, Page & Co., feared a lawsuit). A copy of this draft chapter is found in Box 16, Leon C. Metz Papers.


Billy the Kid’s death warrant may be found in the microfilm series Territorial Archives of New Mexico, roll 21, frames 581–582, NMSRCA.

Convincing evidence that Wallace was undeserving of the criticism he received for his performance at the Battle of Shiloh is found in Timothy B. Smith, “Why Lew Was Late,” Civil War Times 46 ( Jan. 2008): 30–37.

The story of Wallace adding handwritten comments to the offending passages of Badeau’s Military History of Ulysses S. Grant is from The Bucks County Gazette, Bristol, Pennsylvania, June 23, 1881.

Wallace’s description of the Kid being serenaded while in the Lincoln jail is contained in his Mar. 31, 1879, letter to Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz and is as quoted in Jason Strykowski, “An Unholy Bargain in a Cursed Place: Lew Wallace, William Bonney, and New Mexico Territory,” New Mexico Historical Review 82 (Spring 2007): 246–247.

The sales figures for Ben-Hur are as reported in the Daily New Mexican, Dec. 22, 1880.

The telegraph message to Wallace is as quoted in the Daily New Mexican, May 1, 1881.

The Daily New Mexican for May 1 through May 3 contains the coverage of Billy’s escape from Lincoln. For examples of the varied newspapers that carried the Kid’s escape on their front pages, see the Chicago Tribune, May 5, 1881; The Helena Independent,Helena, Montana, May 18, 1881; and The Janesville Daily Gazette, Janesville, Wisconsin, May 5, 1881.

The quote from the anonymous Lincoln correspondent cautioning Governor Wallace appears in the Daily New Mexican of May 3, 1881, as does Wallace’s reward notice for the Kid.

The story of Governor Wallace practicing his pistol shooting at the Palace, previously unknown, comes from the Chicago Daily Tribune, Mar. 13, 1892. It was related by someone who claimed to have been with Wallace in Santa Fe, although the storyteller’s name is not revealed in the article.

For Garrett’s feelings of guilt in the deaths of Olinger and Bell, see his Authentic Life of Billy, The Kid, 123.

Pat Garrett served as the executor of Bob Olinger’s estate. The estate inventory, prepared by Garrett, was brief: one wallet with papers, no value; one shotgun, Whitney patent (serial #903), broken, no value; one Elgin watch (serial #979197), value one dollar; one set clothes, no value. Interestingly, there is no mention of Olinger’s revolver in the inventory. According to Eve Ball, his revolver, field glasses, and gauntlets were presented to Lily Casey, with whom he is said to have been engaged. See Lily Klasner, My Girlhood Among Outlaws, ed. Eve Ball (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1972), 185 and 188. The wallet and papers Olinger had on him the day he was killed, complete with bloodstains, are on display in the Lincoln County Clerk’s Office, Carrizozo, New Mexico.

Garrett’s words to Hough that he knew he would have to kill the Kid are quoted from Emerson Hough, The Story of the Outlaw: A Study of the Western Desperado (New York: The Outing Publishing Company, 1907), 305.

Barney Mason’s efforts in tracking the Kid and his uncomfortable encounter with the outlaw are chronicled in Garrett, Authentic Life of Billy, The Kid, 124; the Las Vegas Gazette, May 12 and 15, 1881; the Las Vegas Morning Gazette, June 16, 1881; and the Las Vegas Daily Optic, May 14, 1881. Although the majority of accounts agree that Billy stole Montgomery Bell’s horse at Fort Sumner, Frank T. Encinias wrote that Saval Gutiérrez stole the horse for Billy’s use. Encinias obtained his information on the Kid from interviews with Saval Gutiérrez, Jesus Silva, Jose Lobato, and several other Fort Sumner Hispanos. The interesting Encinias account is only available in a rare untitled and undated pamphlet.

The news report claiming that Billy was hanging around Fort Sumner because of a girlfriend was published in the Chicago Tribune, June 13, 1881.

For the Billy/Paulita relationship, see Frederick Nolan, “The Private Life of Billy the Kid,” True West 47 (July 2000): 38–39. After receiving the news of Billy’s Lincoln escape, Sheriff James W. Southwick wrote Garrett to inform the lawman that while Billy was incarcerated in Mesilla, he had shown Southwick a letter from “his Girl a Miss Maxwell.” Because she was “very much struck on Billy,” Southwick suggested that Garrett keep a close watch on her. See James W. Southwick to E. A. Brininstool, Springfield, Illinois, Sept. 18, 1920, Box 3G468, Folder 2, E. A. Brininstool Collection, Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

In an interview with author Walter Noble Burns, Paulita supposedly denied that she was Billy’s sweetheart. However, she told a different story to Miguel Antonio Otero in a 1926 interview, or so Otero claimed to a newspaper reporter in an article published on July 14, 1926, presumably in the Santa Fe New Mexican. My source is a clipping in the Charles Siringo Papers (AC 212), Fray Angélico Chávez History Library, Santa Fe.

Another Fort Sumner woman linked with Billy the Kid was Abrana García, whose son, José Patrocinio “Pat” García, was rumored to have been fathered by Billy. See Elbert A. García, Billy the Kid’s Kid: The Hispanic Connection (Santa Rosa, N.Mex.: Los Products Press, 1999).

Garrett’s comments regarding his purposeful respite in pursuing the Kid, as well as his doubts about the Kid’s presence at Fort Sumner, are in his Authentic Life of Billy the Kid, 125.

For my description of the Kid’s death and the events immediately preceding, I have relied primarily on the firsthand accounts of Garrett, his deputy, John W. Poe, and contemporary newspaper reports from the Daily New Mexican and the Las Vegas Daily Optic. Garrett’s version is found in his July 15, 1881, report to the governor as published in the Daily New Mexican, July 19, 1881; his interview with the Las Vegas Daily Optic, July 18, 1881; his interview with the Daily New Mexican, July 21, 1881; his 1882 account as published in his The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid; his interview that appeared in “Plucky Patrick Garrett,” a newspaper clipping dated Nov. 26, 1900, Pat Garrett Clippings File, Denver Public Library (possibly published in the Denver Times-Sun); his 1902 interview originally published in the New York World and copied in various forms in several other newspapers, including the Kansas City Journal, July 20, 1902, Galveston Daily News, Aug. 3, 1902, and the Davenport Daily Republican, Davenport, Iowa, Aug. 7, 1902; and his account as quoted in Hough, The Story of the Outlaw, 307–311. John Poe’s version appears in An Illustrated History of New Mexico (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1895); his 1917 letter to Charles Goodnight, published in Nolan, ed., The Billy the Kid Reader, 331–338; and his own The Death of Billy the Kid (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1933). I am skeptical of a great deal of Poe’s version of events. He claims much of the responsibility for the Kid’s demise, from getting Garrett to travel to Fort Sumner in the first place to then persuading Garrett to visit Maxwell on the night of July 14 (Poe does not address why he failed to seek out Maxwell himself while he was in Fort Sumner for several hours earlier in the day). I suspect that Poe, perhaps envious of the massive attention received by Garrett, purposely enhanced his role in the affair.

The importance of the U.S. mail in Garrett’s efforts to locate the Kid has generally been overlooked. In his July 15 report to the governor, Garrett wrote that he “had received several communications from persons in and about Fort Sumner, that William Bonny, alias the Kid, had been there, or in that vicinity for some time.” James B. Gillett, a former Texas Ranger and a friend of Garrett’s, wrote in 1923 that “Pat Garrett told me out of his own mouth that a certain merchant in Fort Sumner had written him that the Kid was there hanging around Pete Maxwells, as Kid was stuck on one of Pet[e]s half breed daughters.” Garrett told the Las Vegas Daily Optic, in the interview cited above, that “the first definite information he received that the ‘Kid’ was at Fort Sumner was contained in a letter written to him by Manuel Brazil.” See James B. Gillett to E. A. Brininstool, Marfa, Texas, Feb. 21, 1923, Box 3G469, E. A. Brininstool Collection.

For information on Thomas “Kip” McKinney, see Nolan, The West of Billy the Kid, 280; 1870 U.S. Census for Uvalde County, Texas; F. W. Grey, Seeking Fortune in America (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1912), 110; and Frank M. King, Wranglin’ the Past: The Reminiscences of Frank M. King (Pasadena, Calif.: Trail’s End Publishing Co., 1946), 173. Interestingly, McKinney was a cousin of Tom Folliard, and on his deathbed, Folliard had asked Barney Mason to tell McKinney to write his grandmother back in Texas and inform her of his death. Of Garrett, Poe, and McKinney, only McKinney failed to leave a written account of the shooting of the Kid. However, James B. Gillett employed McKinney as a cowhand for “many months” at the Estado Land and Cattle Company, and Gillett wrote that McKinney “told about the same storey as Powe and Garrett” (Gillett to Brininstool, Feb. 21, 1923). A much less reliable source is one Howell Johnson, county attorney for Pecos County, Texas, who in 1933 claimed that Kip McKinney told him that McKinney and not Garrett had shot Billy (El Paso Herald-Post, Nov. 25, 1933). In recent years, historians and outlaw buffs have pounced upon a fanciful tale in Grey’s Seeking Fortune in America that has Garrett and McKinney tying and gagging Billy’s girlfriend (presumably Paulita) so that Garrett could then ambush the unsuspecting lover from behind a sofa. The historians and buffs infer that Grey got this account directly from McKinney, but Grey makes no such claim. Grey’s other whoppers include the assertion that the Kid was a “half-breed Indian” and that Billy supposedly “originated, or at least brought to perfection, the art of whirling a gun and shooting” (p. 118). Grey apparently did know Kip McKinney, but, needless to say, his book should be used with caution.

For information on the Colt and Winchester Garrett confiscated from Billy Wilson at Stinking Spring, see Mary’n Rosson, “The Gun That Killed Billy the Kid,” Old West 14 (Winter 1977): 6–9, 32, 36–37.

There are conflicting accounts regarding Billy’s destination after leaving the peach orchard. Jesus Silva claimed Billy came to his dwelling. Paco Anaya preserved testimony from Celsa and Saval Gutiérrez wherein they said Billy came to their residence. The conversation I quote between Celsa and Billy is from Anaya, I Buried Billy, 125–126. The Anaya/Gutiérrez account is supported by a 1951 signed affidavit from Celsa’s son, Candido, in which he said the Kid stopped in their home the night he was killed. Candido stated that he saw Billy pick up the butcher knife the outlaw was later killed with; the knife belonged to his mother. The Candido Gutiérrez affidavit is reproduced in Frederick Nolan, “The Saga of the Kid Butcher Knife,” The Outlaw Gazette (Billy the Kid Outlaw Gang, Inc.) 10 (Nov. 1997): 7.

There has been some debate over the years as to whether or not the Kid was armed with his pistol when he was shot by Garrett. Miguel Antonio Otero claimed that Jesus Silva and Deluvina Maxwell both stated to him “most positively” that Billy had only his butcher knife when they first observed the body. However, Jesus Silva contradicted himself when he told newspaperman Jack Hull in 1938 that he saw Billy’s body with a knife in one hand and a pistol in the other. Remember, after he was confident that the Kid was dead, Garrett entered the room and at some point examined the Kid’s pistol to see if it had been fired. He would not then have placed the pistol back on the floor, which might explain why those who entered the room afterward saw only a butcher knife—that is, if we are to accept the claims of Deluvina and Silva on this matter, which I do not. It is ludicrous to think that the Kid would have gone anywhere without a firearm. And it is highly unlikely that the Kid would have confronted Deputy Poe if armed only with a butcher knife.

The best description of Deluvina Maxwell is found in a letter by Jack Potter written on Feb. 15, 1949, and published in Rose P. White, “Full Many a Flower…,” The New Mexico Folklore Record 4 (1949–50): 15–16. Potter knew Deluvina in the 1880s. The Paulita Maxwell quote about Deluvina is in Burns, Saga of Billy the Kid, 195. Deluvina was interviewed by J. Evetts Haley at Fort Sumner, June 24, 1927. Interestingly, in that interview she claimed that she did not see Billy’s body until the following morning. The interview is in the collections of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, Texas.

John Poe’s recollection regarding Paulita’s lack of emotion is from Walter Noble Burns’s rejected draft chapter for Saga of Billy the Kid, Box 16, Leon C. Metz Papers.

Although Garrett and others have referred to the jury that investigated the Kid’s death as a “coroner’s jury,” there was no coroner present. A copy of the handwritten verdict of the jury, written entirely in Spanish, is in the Frank W. Parker Papers, NMSRCA. Evidence that Saval Gutiérrez and fellow jury members José Silva and Lorenzo Jaramillo were illiterate is obtained from the fact that they did not sign their names to the verdict but instead made their marks next to their names.

Hispanic old-timers of Fort Sumner who were interviewed in the 1920s and 1930s about Billy’s death and its aftermath include Jesus Silva, Frank Lobato, Vicente Otero, and Anastacio Trujillo. See Otero, The Real Billy the Kid, 155–158, and Jack Hull, “Only One Man Living Who Saw ‘Billy the Kid’ in Both Life and Death,” Clovis News-Journal, Clovis, New Mexico, July 13, 1938.

The account of the Kid’s funeral comes from an article by Jack Potter, who was not an eyewitness but claimed to have obtained his information from Fort Sumner residents in 1884. Potter’s account is reprinted in Nolan, The Billy the Kid Reader, 339–342. In another article, Potter claimed that Billy’s grave marker bore the following words: “Billy the Kid (Bonney)/July 14, 1881.” He added that in the left-hand corner there appeared a small inscription in a woman’s handwriting (he does not explain how he identified the gender of the inscription’s author): “Dormir Bien Querido,” which Potter translated as “sleep well, dear one.” Potter, a popular New Mexico storyteller, seldom felt constrained by the truth. On a visit to the cemetery in January 1882, a special correspondent for the Las Vegas Daily Optic reported that the Kid’s marker contained only the stenciled words “Billy the Kid” the Optic article even provided a facsimile of the inscription. See Colonel Jack Potter, “Post-Mortem on Billy the Kid,” Ranch Romances 73 (First May Number, 1937): 131–133; and Marc Simmons, Stalking Billy the Kid: Brief Sketches of a Short Life(Santa Fe: Sunstone Press, 2006), 175.


For contemporary news reports on the Kid’s death culled from various newspapers, see Harold L. Edwards, Goodbye Billy the Kid (College Station, Tex.: Creative Publishing Company, 1995).

Garrett’s defense of Pete Maxwell is in the Daily New Mexican of July 21, 1881. Some historians have suggested that Pete Maxwell was the primary informant who tipped off Garrett to Billy’s presence at Fort Sumner, supposedly because Maxwell objected to his sister’s relationship with the outlaw. If that was the case, it is very odd that Garrett did not mention that Maxwell was his informant to the New Mexican reporter. What better way to exonerate Maxwell? And Garrett could have done it without bringing up Paulita.

For Garrett’s attempt to collect the reward money on the Kid, see the Daily New Mexican of July 21, 1881, and Ritch’s report on Garrett’s application in Territorial Archives of New Mexico, roll 21, frames 595–596.

For the subscription efforts on behalf of Garrett, see the Daily New Mexican, July 21, 29, and 39; the Las Vegas Daily Optic, July 19, 1881; the Chicago Tribune, Aug. 7, 1881; and the Rio Grande Republican, Sept. 2, 1882.

The Globe of Atchison, Kansas, which slandered Garrett in its issue of Aug. 1, 1881, had praised the lawman just two days previous. The Globe, which was a faithful reader of the Las Vegas Daily Optic due to both cities’ being on the same rail line, commented on the story of Billy’s finger being requested by his “sweetheart” in its issue of Sept. 23, 1881. There is no Kate Tenney in the 1880 U.S. Census for Oakland, Alameda County. However, there is a Kate Terney, a thirty-two-year-old native of Ireland whose occupation is given as servant.

For a good description of the nickel novels about Billy the Kid that appeared in 1881, see J. C. Dykes, Billy the Kid: The Bibliography of a Legend (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1952). There is a common misconception that there were scores of dime novels published that featured the exploits of Billy the Kid. Actually, Billy was not a popular dime novel subject, with less than twelve or so known to have featured the outlaw, all of which appeared after his death. Much more popular was Jesse James, who appeared in dozens of dime novels. My thanks to J. Randolph Cox, editor of Dime Novel Round-Up, for setting me straight on the Kid’s role in these famed yellow-back potboilers.

Don Jenardo’s The True Life of Billy the Kid was number 451 in the Five Cent Wide Awake Library, published by Frank Tousey, New York.

In a letter to a niece written about two months after publication of The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid, Upson claimed that he had written “every word” of Garrett’s book, which was likely true, as Garrett may have dictated his account to his friend. Upson’s contributions to the book were acknowledged in the New Mexico press in 1885. “He wrote the ‘Life of Billy the Kid,’ for Pat Garrett,” stated the Albuquerque Journal (as quoted in the Rio Grande Republican, Dec. 26, 1885). Interestingly, the Rio Grande Republican referred to Upson as the “compiler” of Garrett’s book in its issue of Feb. 7, 1885. Upson’s letter to his niece is reproduced in James D. Shinkle, Reminiscences of Roswell Pioneers, 22.

The Rio Grande Republican of Dec. 3, 1881, announced that Garrett had closed on the contract with the New Mexican Printing and Publishing Co. to produce his book. The first announcement that the book was completed and ready for sale appeared in the Daily New Mexicanof Mar. 12, 1882.

In his History of “Billy the Kid,” 133, Charlie Siringo stated that Garrett had Billy’s body dug up. Phil LeNoir, who seems to have been inspired by Siringo’s account, wrote a superb poem about the episode titled “The Finger of Billy the Kid.” See LeNoir’s Rhymes of the Wild & Wooly (Santa Fe: privately printed, 1920).

For information on the different printings of Garrett’s The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid, I am grateful to Robert McCubbin of Santa Fe, New Mexico. McCubbin owns three variants of Garrett’s book, including an extremely rare copy bound in red flexible leather. Apparently, a very few copies of the book were bound in leather as special presentation copies for Garrett’s use. McCubbin’s leather-bound copy is indeed inscribed “from the author.” Bob McCubbin to Mark L. Gardner, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Dec. 21, 2007.

For the meeting between Pat Garrett and Joseph Antrim, see the Albuquerque Review, Aug. 2, 1882 (typescript in Leon C. Metz Papers); and Galveston Daily News, Dec. 15, 1881. My information on the Armijo Hotel comes from The Albuquerque Tribune, Feb. 10, 1958; and Marc Simmons, Albuquerque: A Narrative History (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1982), 226.

Garrett’s displeasure with the office of Lincoln County sheriff was reported in the Daily New Mexican, July 19, 1881; and the Rio Grande Republican, July 23, 1881.

Records pertaining to the payment of Garrett’s reward are found in Territorial Archives of New Mexico, roll 5, frames 127, 765–766; Pat F. Garrett: Settlements for Services Rendered, Territorial Auditor Collection #1960-030, Box 11, Folder 2, NMSRCA; and Territorial Auditor’s Daybook, p. 178, NMSRCA.

Garrett’s Elgin pocket watch (object #85.3.1) is currently part of the collections of the Autry Museum of the American West, Los Angeles, California. Garrett’s gold Lincoln County sheriff’s badge sold at auction in San Francisco on June 16, 2008, for $100,000. The badge is currently on display in the private Ruidoso River Museum, Ruidoso, New Mexico. See “Pat Garrett’s Sheriff’s Badge Nets $100,000,” San Francisco Chronicle, June 17, 2008. Notice of the walking cane appeared in the Daily New Mexican, Mar. 31, 1883.

The Rio Grande Republican, July 22, 1882, reported on Garrett’s decision not to run for a second term as sheriff.

For Garrett’s Territorial Council run, the controversial letters from “X” and “Texan,” and Garrett’s pistol whipping of Roberts, see the Rio Grande Republican, Sept. 2, 16, 19, and 23, Nov. 4, 11, and 18; and El Paso Lone Star, May 14, 1884.

James E. Sligh, Garrett’s friend and the former editor and publisher of the White Oaks Golden Era, recorded Garrett’s comments about his marriage to Polinaria and the racism the couple faced: “Some people seem to think that a man who marries a Mexican woman, and stays with her, lets himself down in the estimation of white people; but I can’t help that; I married my wife because I loved her and I love her still, and I intend to stay with her to the end. If people don’t like me because of my wife, they can simply let me alone.” When Sligh asked Garrett what his family in Louisiana thought of the marriage, Garrett said that they looked at it “as if I had married a nigger, and you know how our Southern folks take a thing like that.” See Sligh, “The Lincoln County War: A Sequel to the Story of ‘Billy the Kid,’” 170–171.

On Feb. 3, 1883, Garrett and Poe entered into an agreement with John N. Copeland to purchase a little over one hundred head of cattle at $22.50 each. A copy of the agreement is in the Herman B. Weisner Papers, Ms 249, Box 4, Folder G/5, Rio Grande Historical Collections, New Mexico State University Archives, Las Cruces.

The story of the Panhandle cowboy strike and the formation and activities of Garrett’s rangers is best chronicled in Frederick Nolan, Tascosa: Its Life and Gaudy Times (Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2007).

The El Paso Lone Star comment on Garrett’s rangers is quoted from its issue of July 2, 1884. Garrett’s unit was not part of the famed Texas Rangers. His company is often referred to as the LS rangers, because the largest financial backer was the LS outfit.

Garrett’s purchase of the Ki Harrison ranch in Lincoln County for $5,000 was reported in the Lone Star of Apr. 12, 1884.

John Meadows’s quote about Garrett preventing another Lincoln County War is from Nolan, Tascosa, 168. Garrett’s suspicion that he was hired as an assassin is from Hough, The Story of the Outlaw, 299.

For evidence of Garrett’s relocation with his family to Las Vegas, see the Lincoln Golden Era, Jan. 1 and 8, 1885. A copy of Garrett’s oath of office for the position of cattle inspector, San Miguel County, New Mexico, Mar. 18, 1885, is in the Leon C. Metz Papers, Box 16.

Brandon C. Kirby’s background and his relationship with Garrett are documented in the Rio Grande Republican, Aug. 8, 1885; and the Las Vegas Daily Optic, Dec. 6, 12, and 15, 1890.

The downturn in the New Mexico cattle business in 1886 was mentioned by Sophie Poe, wife of John W. Poe, in a letter to W. T. Moyers, Aug. 18, 1951, Box 10B, Folder 4C, Fred M. Mazzulla Collection, #1881, Stephen H. Hart Library, Colorado Historical Society, Denver.

For Garrett’s irrigation business, see Metz, Pat Garrett, 149–154; James D. Shinkle, Fifty Years of Roswell History, 1867–1917 (Roswell, N.Mex.: Hall-Poorbaugh Press, 1964), 93–98; and Stephen Bogener, Ditches Across the Desert: Irrigation in the Lower Pecos Valley(Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2003).

The description of Garrett’s farm is from the Las Vegas Daily Optic of Mar. 27, 1889. Garrett’s business endeavors and political aspirations are well documented in the Pecos Valley Register, published in Roswell, in various issues for 1889 and 1890.

In his run for Chaves County sheriff, Garrett had been endorsed by both the Las Vegas Daily Optic and Roswell’s Pecos Valley Register. He lost to the man Poe endorsed: Campbell C. Fountain.

Garrett’s letter to Polinaria discussing trade for the Uvalde ditch was written from El Paso, Texas, Sept. 2, 1889. The letter is in a private collection.

The story of how Elizabeth Garrett lost her eyesight is from an interview with Mae Marley, Roswell, New Mexico, Apr. 26, 1966, Buckner Collection of Elizabeth Garrett Materials, 1893–1992, Coll. #1992-025, NMSRCA.

Ida Garrett’s letter to M. A. Upson, July 24, 1891, is in the private collection of Robert G. McCubbin.

The Uvalde Herald article on the increase in blooded horses in west Texas is as quoted in the Galveston Daily News, Oct. 29, 1891.

Garrett’s purchase of the St. Louis steam engine for “experiments on irrigation by machinery” was reported in the Roswell Record, June 23, 1893.

Garrett’s letter to Polinaria, Mar. 21, 1894, is reproduced in The Kid (Mar. 1990): 5–6.

On Oct. 6, 1894, Ash Upson, Garrett’s odd, liquor-guzzling friend of many years, died at the Garrett home. He would have turned sixty-six years old in a month.


For Albert Jennings Fountain, see A. M. Gibson, The Life and Death of Colonel Albert Jennings Fountain (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1965); and Gordon R. Owen, The Two Alberts: Fountain and Fall (Las Cruces: Yucca Tree Press, 1996).

For a newspaper report on Governor Thornton’s El Paso meeting with Garrett, see the San Antonio Light, Feb. 22, 1896.

Garrett’s letter to Polinaria, Feb. 25, 1896, is as quoted in Jarvis Garrett’s foreword to a reprint of his father’s The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid (Albuquerque: Horn & Wallace, 1964), 25.

For Charles C. Perry, see Larry D. Ball, “Lawman in Disgrace: Sheriff Charles C. Perry of Chaves County, New Mexico,” New Mexico Historical Review 61 (Apr. 1986): 125–136.

Garrett’s words about never quitting are in his letter to Polinaria, Mar. 8, 1896, Las Cruces, New Mexico. A copy of this letter is in the Donald Cline Collection, Series 10419, Folder 68, NMSRCA.

For my narrative regarding the Fountain killings and the subsequent investigation and trial of Lee and Gililland, I have relied primarily on the reports of Pinkerton operatives John C. Fraser and William B. Sayers and El Paso Daily Herald reports on the Lee and Gililland trial, May 27–June 16, 1899. Copies of the Pinkerton reports were provided me by historian John P. Wilson. Copies are also available in the Charles Siringo Papers, Chávez History Library, Santa Fe, and the C. L. Sonnichsen Papers, MS 141, C. L. Sonnichsen Special Collections Department, University of Texas at El Paso Library. A detailed examination of the Fountain investigation and the Lee and Gililland murder trial is Corey Recko’s Murder on the White Sands: The Disappearance of Albert and Henry Fountain (Denton, Tex.: University of North Texas Press, 2007).

During the summer of 1896, while he was in the midst of the Fountain investigation, Garrett helped secure a presidential pardon for Billy Wilson, Billy the Kid’s old partner in crime, who had been living in Texas under an assumed name. See Rasch, Trailing Billy the Kid, 65–67.

Fall’s assistance in securing Garrett’s appointment as Doña Ana County sheriff was not a magnanimous gesture. Fall was able to negotiate with the governor the appointment of a new board of county commissioners—all Democrats. The unusual steps taken to secure the sheriff’s office for Garrett are explained in the Rio Grande Republican, Aug. 14, 1896.

My account of Garrett and Maggie Fountain at the Republican rally is from the Rio Grande Republican, Nov. 6, 1896.

The legendary Tularosa poker game is related by Curry, a participant, in George Curry, 1861–1947: An Autobiography, 106–107.

The two Apr. 3, 1898, affidavits outlining Garrett’s evidence in the Fountain case are reproduced in Keleher, The Fabulous Frontier, 216–218.

There are several accounts of the Wildy Well gunfight, making for a bit of a mess when trying to figure out exactly what happened that day. Garrett’s version of events is in his sworn testimony during the trial of Lee and Gililland, as reported in the El Paso Daily Herald, June 7, 1899; and his account as published in the Rio Grande Republican, July 15, 1898. Oliver Lee gave his version thirty-nine years later to William A. Keleher, who published it in his The Fabulous Frontier, 200–222. By far the most interesting account is the Aug. 18, 1898, sworn statement left by Mary Madison, which, not surprisingly, is highly critical of Garrett. Her statement is in Box 11, Folder 22, Albert B. Fall Family Papers, Ms 8, Rio Grande Historical Collections.

The report that Lee withdrew a large amount of money at El Paso appeared in the Galveston Daily News, July 16, 1898.

The story of Lee getting startled during a poker game at the Cox ranch is from Emmett Isaacs to Herman B. Weisner, 1962, interview typescript, Box 27, Folder 1, Eve Ball Papers.

Numerous historians and authors have enjoyed repeating the tale that Albert B. Fall came up with the idea to create Otero County in order to help Lee and Gililland out of their fix, as the boundaries of the new Otero County just encompassed the Fountain murder site, technically giving Otero legal jurisdiction over the case. Fall, however, was still on active military duty when Otero County came into existence, and the issue of Otero’s legal jurisdiction never became a factor in the subsequent trial of Lee and Gililland. The truth of the matter is that Lee and Gililland saw an influential ally in Sheriff George Curry, who obviously had the ear of Governor Otero, and, too, they were weary of running from a determined Pat Garrett.

George Curry’s account of his negotiations with Lee, Otero, and Judge Parker are in George Curry, 1861–1947: An Autobiography, 111–113.

For Eugene Manlove Rhodes, see W. H. Hutchinson, A Bar Cross Man: The Life and Personal Writings of Eugene Manlove Rhodes (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1956). Although Rhodes was an unabashed Lee partisan, he would go on to write a noted essay defending Pat Garrett and his conduct in hunting down and killing Billy the Kid. See Rhodes, “In Defense of Pat Garrett,” Sunset 59 (Sept. 1927): 26–27, 85–91.

There are several versions of Garrett’s encounter with Lee and Gililland on the train ride to Las Cruces. See “Surrendered,” Los Angeles Times, Mar. 14, 1899; Mrs. C. C. Chase (daughter of A. B. Fall) interview typescript, Jan. 13, 1966, Leon C. Metz Papers; Hutchinson, A Bar Cross Man, 64–66; W. H. Hutchinson, Another Verdict for Oliver Lee (Clarendon, Tex.: Clarendon Press, 1965), 2–4; and Keleher, The Fabulous Frontier, 225–226.

The newspaper story giving Garrett’s height as seven feet appeared in the Idaho Daily Statesman, Boise, Idaho, May 30, 1899.

John C. Fraser’s letter to Governor Thornton, written at Denver, Colorado, Apr. 4, 1896, in which he states his suspicion of Oliver Lee, is in the Pinkerton reports, cited above. In the most recent full-length treatment of the Fountain murders, Murder on the White Sands, author Corey Recko offers his opinion that Lee, Gililland, and McNew were guilty of waylaying and killing Albert and Henry Fountain.


For the shooting of Norman Newman at the Cox ranch, see the Rio Grande Republican, Oct. 13 and 27, 1899; Metz, Pat Garrett, 237–239; and Garrett’s own account in Hough, The Story of the Outlaw, 10–12. The bulldog, Old Booze, belonged to Albert B. Fall, so it only seems right that the dog would come in on the side of the defense.

I derived my details on Print Rhode from a Nov. 9, 1967, interview between James Cox and Leon Metz, typescript in the Leon C. Metz Papers; a Jan. 30, 1968, interview between Willis Walter and Leon Metz, typescript in Leon C. Metz Papers; the Arizona Territorial Prison (Florence) record for A. P. Rhode, Pinal County Historical Museum, Florence, Arizona; 1870 and 1880 U.S. censuses for Lavaca County, Texas; 1900 U.S. Census for Doña Ana County, New Mexico; and 1910 U.S. Census for Yavapai County, Arizona.

The best synopsis of the Las Cruces bank robbery and its aftermath is Harold L. Edwards, “Pat Garrett and the Las Cruces Bank Robbery,” True West 45 (Feb. 1998): 8–13. I have also consulted the reports on the robbery and subsequent trial as published in the Rio Grande Republican. William Wilson received a ten-year sentence for bank robbery, and Oscar Wilbur received a reduced sentence of five years. Governor Otero granted Wilbur a full pardon six months later.

Garrett’s interview discussing his decision to retire as Doña Ana County sheriff, as well as the reference to his sobriquet, is from “Plucky Patrick Garrett,” newspaper clipping, Nov. 26, 1900.

Much of my quoted material on Garrett’s rocky tenure as El Paso collector of customs comes from Jack DeMattos’s Garrett and Roosevelt (College Station, Tex.: Creative Publishing Company, 1988), which reproduces numerous primary sources, including telegrams, letters, newspaper reports, Treasury Department correspondence, and the correspondence between Emerson Hough and President Roosevelt. See also Leon C. Metz, “Pat Garrett, El Paso Customs Collector,” Arizona and the West 11 (Winter 1969): 327–340.

Garrett’s Dec. 9, 1901, letter to Polinaria mentioning his meeting with Lew Wallace is reproduced in The Estate of Richard C. Marohn, M.D., auction catalog (San Francisco: Butterfield & Butterfield, 1996), 131. Garrett and Wallace’s visit to the White House was reported in the Galveston Daily News, Dec. 12, 1901.

The most bizarre attack on Garrett came from his former partner in the buffalo hide business, Willis Skelton Glenn. Glenn, bitter that Garrett had recently failed to corroborate his inflated Indian depredations claim with the federal government, determined to press charges against his old partner for the killing of Joe Briscoe twenty-five years previous. Glenn consulted with the Tarrant County attorney in Fort Worth, who told him he would have to press the murder charges in west Texas. Failing to derail Garrett’s appointment, Glenn seems to have decided not to follow through with this threat. See The Atlanta Constitution, Dec. 17, 1901.

Garrett’s discussion with Roosevelt during his Dec. 15 visit to the White House is quoted from “He Shot Billy The Kid,” Kansas City Journal, July 20, 1902, clipping typescript in Maurice G. Fulton Collection.

Garrett’s original commission as collector of customs and the engraved Wirt fountain pen the president used to sign the commission are illustrated in The Estate of Richard C. Marohn, M.D., 132.

The newspaper article “Made the General Pay” appeared in the Galveston Daily News, Oct. 18, 1902.

The New York Evening World piece criticizing Roosevelt for his appointments of “killers” ran in its issue of Feb. 7, 1905.

The Washington Post issue of Dec. 16, 1905, contained the report that Garrett looked dejected after visiting the White House.

Garrett’s interview with the Fort Worth reporter was published in the Galveston Daily News, Dec. 24, 1905.

The Finstad case and Garrett’s connection thereto was reported in the Los Angeles Times, Jan. 2, 5, and 13, 1906; and the Washington Post, Mar. 17, 1906. A copy of Garrett’s letter to President Roosevelt, Jan. 21, 1906, is in Folder 25, Patrick F. Garrett Family Papers, Ms 282, Rio Grande Historical Collections.

Garrett’s Chihuahua mining proposition is described in a letter to Emerson Hough, May 9, 1906, El Paso, Texas, Folder 25, Patrick F. Garrett Family Papers.

The problems encountered in trying to collect on Garrett are detailed in W. G. Waltz to T. B. Catron, El Paso, Texas, May 31, 1904, copy in Leon C. Metz Papers.

Garrett’s legal difficulties with the Bank of Commerce, Albuquerque, are chronicled in Metz, Pat Garrett, 277–280; and Don Cline, “Pat Garrett’s Tragic Lawsuit,” Old West 25 (Summer 1989): 18–23. A manuscript version of Cline’s article, with a detailed list of sources, is in the Donald Cline Collection, Folder 69.

The “Dead Beat” book from Bentley’s Organ store is in the Louis B. Bentley Papers, Ms 14, Rio Grande Historical Collections.

Albert Fall’s decision to share in Garrett’s Las Cruces grocery bill was recounted by his daughter, Mrs. C. C. Chase, in an interview with Leon C. Metz, Jan. 13, 1966, Leon C. Metz Papers.

The exchange between Albert Fall and Pat Garrett over the $50 check is from A. B. Fall to P. F. Garrett, El Paso, Texas, Dec. 29, 1906; and P. F. Garrett to A. B. Fall, Ranch (Black Mountain ranch), Jan. 15, 1907, Box 8, Folder 1, Albert B. Fall Family Papers.

The possibility of Garrett receiving the appointment as superintendent of the territorial prison was mentioned in the Rio Grande Republican, Apr. 27, 1907. Garrett’s letter to Polinaria requesting his Prince Albert coat for the Curry inauguration was written at El Paso on July 24, 1907. The letter is in a private collection.

Garrett’s brief venture into the El Paso real estate business with the firm of Maple & Co. was reported in the Rio Grande Republican of Aug. 31, 1907.

For Garrett’s dalliance with the mysterious Mrs. Brown, see Metz, Pat Garrett, 284. Emerson Hough’s reference to Garrett’s “indiscretion” is as quoted in DeMattos, Garrett and Roosevelt, 116.

My description of Wayne Brazel comes from Clara Snow to Eve Ball, Nov. 7, 1977, Ruidoso, New Mexico, interview typescript, Box 17, Folder 21, Eve Ball Papers; Mrs. C. C. Chase interview typescript, January 13, 1966, Leon C. Metz Papers; Sterling Rhode to Herman Weisner, undated interview, Leon C. Metz Papers; and San Antonio Light, Mar. 5, 1908.

A copy of the lease between Brazel and Poe Garrett is in Box 27, Folder 3, Eve Ball Papers. The use of Poe Garrett’s name in the lease agreement was Garrett’s attempt to shelter the property from the legal proceedings against him. In a July 11, 1906, written statement made in response to the sheriff’s seizure of his property, Garrett also denied that the Bear Canyon ranch property belonged to him. A copy of this letter is in the Donald Cline Collection, Folder 70.

For Garrett’s attempt to void the lease with Brazel in court, see Sterling Rhode to Herman Weisner, undated interview; and San Antonio Light, Mar. 5, 1908.

Albert Fall mentioned Garrett’s Las Cruces fistfights in his letter to Eugene Manlove Rhodes, El Paso, Texas, Feb. 2, 1910, Box 8, Folder 27, Albert B. Fall Family Papers.

Garrett’s letter to George Curry begging for $50 is as quoted in Keleher, The Fabulous Frontier, 72–73. Curry mentions the check in his Autobiography, 218.

For the specifics of Garrett’s negotiations with Miller and Adamson, I have relied on Adamson’s testimony in the Rio Grande Republican, Mar. 7, 1908; San Antonio Light, Mar. 5, 1908; and John Milton Scanland, Life of Pat F. Garrett and the Taming of the Border Outlaw(1908; reprint ed., Palmer Lake, Colo.: Filter Press, 1971), 4–5.

Garrett’s unusual Burgess shotgun is the subject of Mark Wright’s “The Garrett/ Ross Folding Burgess 12 Gauge: The Story of a Remarkable Firearm and the Two Lawmen Who Used It,” The Gun Report (Nov. 1988): 14–17.

The arrival of Garrett and Adamson at the Walter livery stable was vividly recalled by Willis Walter in his interview with Leon Metz, Jan. 30, 1968, Lordsburg, New Mexico.

Deputy Sheriff Lucero’s recollections about Garrett’s death and his role in the investigation, as well as Dr. William C. Field’s memories of the murder scene and his autopsy on Garrett’s body, were published in The New Mexico Sentinel, Santa Fe, Apr. 23, 1939.

Garrett’s funeral was reported in the Rio Grande Republican, Mar. 7, 1908; the Las Cruces Citizen, Mar. 7, 1908; and the Albuquerque Morning Journal, Mar. 10, 1908.

For Jim Miller, see J. J. Bush to Gov. Curry, El Paso, Texas, Mar. 21, 1908, Territorial Archives of New Mexico, roll 165, frames 951–952; Glenn Shirley, Shotgun for Hire: The Story of “Deacon” Jim Miller, Killer of Pat Garrett (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970); The Evening News, Ada, Oklahoma, Apr. 22, 1909; and Galveston Daily News, Apr. 20, 1909.

The anonymous letter accusing Print Rhode of being an accessory to the murder of Garrett is found in Territorial Archives of New Mexico, roll 54, frames 201–202. Poe Garrett also received an anonymous letter warning him that he was next in line to be killed. The writer stated that “Hanging without trial is what Brazel should get.” The letter was signed “One Who Knows.” See Scanland, Life of Pat F. Garrett and the Taming of the Border Outlaw, 11.

Cox paid off a $3,000 promissory note for Garrett on May 29, 1906. The note is illustrated in The Estate of Richard C. Marohn, M.D., 143. Two letters from Cox to Polinaria Garrett are in the Patrick F. Garrett Family Papers, and a letter from Cox to Pat Garrett is in the Robert G. McCubbin Collection. This latter is reproduced in McCubbin, “The 100th Anniversary of Pat Garrett’s Death,” True West 55 ( Jan.–Feb. 2008): 38.

For Jeff Ake’s opinion of Bill Cox and his role in Garrett’s death, see James B. O’Neil, They Die But Once: The Story of a Tejano (New York: Knight Publications, Inc., 1935), 195.

James M. Hervey wrote an important account of his involvement in the investigation of Garrett’s death some years prior to March 1951 and sent it to W. T. Moyers, a Denver attorney who became obsessed with who killed Garrett. This typed manuscript is in Box 3, Folder 5, Fred M. Mazzulla Collection. Hervey expanded this account prior to his death in 1953 and it was subsequently published as “The Assassination of Pat Garrett,” True West (Mar.–Apr. 1961): 16–27, 40–42.

The subpoenas for the telegrams of Brazel, Rhode, and others are in Territory of New Mexico vs. Wayne Brazel, Case #4112, Doña Ana County District Court Records, Box 13320, NMSRCA.

Captain Fornoff’s “discovery” was shared with both Hervey and Governor Curry. Curry wrote later that, because of Fornoff’s findings, he became convinced that Brazel was “the victim of a conspiracy rather than the killer” (Autobiography, 217). Fornoff made a written report of his investigation, but that report appears to have been destroyed. Fred Lambert, a member of the Mounted Police under Fornoff, wrote W. T. Moyers on Apr. 7, 1951, that Fornoff “definitely established that young Brazil [sic] was paid $10,000 to do the job.” Lambert may have confused the story somewhat after forty-three years, but he remembered the main point that Garrett’s killing was a conspiracy. Lambert’s letter is in Box 10B, Folder 4D, Fred M. Mazzulla Collection. For more on the Fornoff report, see Robert N. Mullin, “The Key to the Mystery of Pat Garrett,” The Branding Iron (Los Angeles Corral of the Westerners) 92 (June 1969): 1–5.

For newspaper reports of the Brazel verdict, see the El Paso Times, May 5, 1909, and The Evening News, Ada, Oklahoma, May 6, 1909. Dr. Field is as quoted in the New Mexico Sentinel, Apr. 23, 1939.

Wayne Brazel’s apology to Mrs. Fall is as quoted in Mrs. C. C. Chase interview typescript, Jan. 13, 1966, Leon C. Metz Papers.

A typescript of the Oliver M. Lee Jr. interview with C. L. Sonnichsen, Sept. 14, 1954, is in Box 93, Folder 404, C. L. Sonnichsen Papers. W. T. Moyers visited Alamogordo, New Mexico, in 1955 and got a very similar story from Oliver Lee Jr. Moyers understood that after Print Rhode (Moyers uses “Mr. X” for Rhode) shot Garrett in the back of the head with a Winchester rifle, Brazel fired his pistol into Garrett’s body. See W. T. Moyers dictation, Dec. 1, 1955; and Moyers to Fred M. Mazzulla, Denver, Colo., Dec. 12, 1961, Box 10B, Folder 4D, Fred M. Mazzulla Collection.

Jim Cox’s statement to Herman Weisner is as quoted in a typescript of Weisner’s Mar. 18, 1986, lecture at the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, Las Cruces, RGT186, Rio Grande Historical Collections.

The Albert Fall quote on Garrett’s death is from his letter to Eugene Manlove Rhodes, El Paso, Texas, Feb. 2, 1910, Box 8, Folder 27, Albert B. Fall Family Papers.

James B. Gillett is as quoted in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, Jan. 3, 1885.

For the lynching of Jim Miller, see the Evening News, Ada, Oklahoma, Apr. 19, 20, 22, and 23; and the Galveston Daily News, Apr. 20, 1909.

Carl Adamson’s trial and conviction for smuggling Chinese nationals was reported in the Rio Grande Republican, Dec. 19, 1908; and the Albuquerque Journal, Aug. 23, 1911. It has been suggested that Miller and Adamson wanted Garrett’s Bear Canyon ranch as a hideout for illegal aliens whom they intended to smuggle into the United States. This is extremely far-fetched. The smuggling business consisted of supplying Chinese nationals in Mexico with bogus U.S. citizenship certificates and then getting them across the border where they could be quickly shuttled to the larger U.S. cities, places where they were more likely to blend in. The smugglers charged $50 for each certificate and $50 to get the individual across the Rio Grande. There was no need of a remote hideout in New Mexico where there were no jobs except punching cattle. See “Chinese Smuggled In,” Galveston Daily News, Nov. 5, 1907.

Bill Cox’s purchase of the Garrett Black Mountain ranch was reported in the Rio Grande Republican, Dec. 5, 1908. The comparison of Cox’s ranch with Rhode Island is in the Rio Grande Republican of Oct. 21, 1910. For more on Cox, see Paxton P. Price, Mesilla Valley Pioneers, 1823–1912 (Las Cruces: Yucca Tree Press, 1995), 226–227.

Albert Fall’s recommendation of Brazel for an appointment to the New Mexico Mounted Police is in the Territorial Archives of New Mexico, roll 165, frame 417. My additional details on Brazel’s later life and disappearance are from Robert N. Mullin, “The Strange Story of Wayne Brazel,” Panhandle-Plains Historical Review 42 (1969): 23–59.

My description of Print Rhode’s murder of Henry L. Murphy, his incarceration, and eventual pardon comes from the Arizona Journal-Miner, July 9, 10, and 12, 1910; Inquest of H. L. Murphy and A. P. Rhode Petition for Writ, Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, Phoenix, Arizona; and Arizona Territorial Prison (Florence) record for A. P. Rhode. Although Print Rhode has been mentioned by other writers as a possible suspect in Garrett’s murder, I am the first to present significant evidence identifying him as the killer. See Robert N. Mullin, “Who Killed Pat Garrett—and Why?” Password (El Paso County Historical Society) 16 (1971): 46–61.


Garrett and Hough’s visit to Fort Sumner is recounted in Hough’s The Story of the Outlaw, 305–312.

Native Texan Stanley Walker’s review of Burn’s Saga of Billy the Kid appeared in the Mar. 7, 1926, issue of the New York Times.

The copy of Burn’s Saga found in Bonnie and Clyde’s death car now belongs to the Bienville Depot Museum, Arcadia, Louisiana.

For Copland and his ballet, Billy the Kid, see Aaron Copland and Vivian Perlis, Copland, 1900 through 1942 (New York: St. Martin’s, 1984).

For the dispute over the Fort Sumner cemetery, see the Clovis News-Journal, July 24, 1938; and the El Paso Herald-Post, Feb. 18, 1939.

My information on the restoration and dedication of the old Lincoln County courthouse comes from the Albuquerque Journal, June 14, 1937, and July 31, 1939; El Paso Herald-Post, Feb. 12, 1938; The Daily Times-News, Burlington, North Carolina, Nov. 25, 1938; and Las Cruces Sun-News, July 31, 1939.

For a history of the gun that killed Billy the Kid, see Mary’n Rosson, “The Gun That Killed Billy the Kid,” Old West 14 (Winter 1977): 6–9, 32, 36–37. The Garrett affidavit quoted is reproduced in the above article, 8. The legal struggle between Polinaria Garrett and the Powers estate is chronicled in the El Paso Herald-Post, Nov. 10, 1933, and Mar. 7, Oct. 6, and Oct. 8, 1934; and the Albuquerque Journal, Jan. 31, and Apr. 25 and 29, 1933. A list of the firearms in the Tom Powers collection, from the estate inventory, is in Box 18, Leon C. Metz Papers.

Polinaria Garrett’s death was reported in the Albuquerque Journal, Oct. 22, 1936. Her first name was given as Pauline.

For the Garrett family’s lawsuit against Howard Hughes, see the Port Arthur News, Port Arthur, Texas, Mar. 9, 1947; Las Vegas Daily Optic, Mar. 8, 1947; and Albuquerque Journal, Mar. 8, 1947. An excellent summary of Billy the Kid films is Paul Andrew Hutton, “Silver Screen Desperado: Billy the Kid in the Movies,” New Mexico Historical Review 82 (Spring 2007): 149–196.

The Brushy Bill Roberts story was widely covered in the press, but see the Santa Fe New Mexican, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 1950; and El Paso Herald-Post, Nov. 25, 1950. Brushy’s death was reported in the Las Cruces Sun-News, Dec. 28, 1950. See also C. L. Sonnichsen and William V. Morrison, Alias Billy the Kid (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1955).

For the Sullivan/Sederwall investigation, see the New York Times, June 5, 2003; Santa Fe New Mexican, Aug. 2, 2004; Tucson Weekly, Apr. 13, 2006; Houston Chronicle, Sept. 5, 2007; Ruidoso News, Aug. 13, 2008; Albuquerque Journal, Aug. 18, 2007, and Aug. 28, 2008; and Jana Bommersbach, “Digging Up Billy,” True West 50 (Aug./Sept. 2003): 42–45. The investigation also figures in a 2004 History Channel documentary, Investigating History: Billy the Kid, and a 2007 French documentary, Requiem for Billy the Kid, directed by Anne Feinsilber.

Florencio Chavez is as quoted in Eugene Cunningham, “Fought with Billy the Kid,” Frontier Times 9 (Mar. 1932): 247.

For the sad condition of Garrett’s grave and the removal of his remains to the Masonic cemetery, see the Las Cruces Sun-News, Feb. 1, 1948; Big Spring Daily Herald, Sept. 12, 1957; and Las Cruces Sun-News, Oct. 23, 1957.

Sallie Chisum is as quoted in Burns, Saga of Billy the Kid, 18–19.

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